Thanksgiving – Past and Present

Thanksgiving was always my favorite Holiday.
When I was young, my family always travelled to West Virginia to spend Thanksgiving with my grandparents. There were plenty of aunts and uncles and cousins to visit with.
After becoming an adult with a home of my own, things changed. I love to decorate and cook and enjoyed having the whole family come for dinner. There was no stress about gifts and everyone pitched in with the clean-up and there was time to relax and visit. For several years my sister and her family (husband and three daughters) came down from up-state New York and stayed for the week-end. Sometimes the weather caused some anxiety, but we always prevailed. I miss those days – the girls are all married with families of their own, scattered along the East Coast.
My daughter’s husband and son are hunters so they are never available for Thanksgiving dinner and my son’s work schedule frequently causes him to miss the festivities. I’ve been known to host a big Thanksgiving dinner on the following Sunday or even a week later to accommodate everyone.
A couple of years ago my daughter and daughter-in-law got together and brought the entire Thanksgiving dinner to us – turkey and all. What a treat! This year my husband and I are going to my son’s house and I only have to take cornbead.
I hope there is some left-over turkey I can bring home.
But other aspects of Thanksgiving have also changed. The emphasis seems to be on which department store can open the earliest on Friday – some even opening on Thanksgiving Day. Have we lost focus? Is a tradition dying? I certainly hope not.
It is true that this has been a tough year – natural disasters, mass killings, terrorist threats, and family violence. Even so, we have much to be thankful for. The newspaper today was full of announcements of organizations providing free Thanksgiving meals for the needy all over the area. We can be thankful for the compassion of those who are reaching out to others. We should and can be thankful if we are not classed as “needy”. I know am.
I will not be joining the throngs packing the parking lots and racing for bargains. I will be content on Friday to relax at home and enjoy the view from my spot at the top of the hill and reflect on my blessings and memories of Thanksgivings past. Maybe next year I can realize my dream of being the “grandmother” presiding over a bountiful feast with my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren filling the house with laughter. If not, maybe I’ll join a group feeding the needy.
Stay tuned.



  1. Tammy said,

    November 28, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Aunt Nancy – I have lots of fond memories of Thanksgivings spent at your house. The hugs, smell of good food, and playing with my cousins were some of my favorite things. Now we only see each other when life presents tragedies, it really is a shame. Happy Thanksgiving, I love you! Your niece, Tammy ❤

  2. Elizabeth Mikesell said,

    November 29, 2013 at 12:28 am

    We now know how our parents must have felt when it came to the holidays. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to spend time with them or our siblings for that matter, it was that we needed to start our own traditions and memories with our spouses and our children. We wanted our children to be able to experience what we had had as children. The excitement of a pending holiday whether it be planning a family meal or possibly someone special coming for a visit. You can now understand the disappointment in their voices as we told them that we had already made plans. So now we are on the receiving end, with the shoe on the other foot, so to speak. I’m thankful for each and every moment that I can spend with a sibling or child. These are new memories in the making.

  3. Pat G said,

    November 30, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Hope you had some left over turkey to take home. I fed the gang again yesterday…thankful that I still can. Jack and I just had a reprise of yesterday’s meal..Almost as good as the original! Now by tomorrow maybe the turkey will not be trotted out…or maybe it will. Turkey sandwiches are always good! Best wishes to you and Al..

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