Be grateful on Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is a holiday devoted to food and gratitude for the abundance we have.
It is also a bittersweet holiday. A day of remembrance of Thanksgivings past. I have fond memories of childhood Thanksgivings with my parents and extended family. The tables would groan with enough food to feed an army.
Besides turkey, there would be a ham, maybe some Italian specialty, huge pans of dressing, salads, other side dishes, desserts, and fresh fruit trays. Sometimes, there were two sittings. One in the mid-afternoon and another in the evening, after the final football games were watched.
I would watch my parents prepare everything. They had a gleam in their eye while they spent two days preparing a feast. Thanksgiving is the one holiday I miss my parents the most.
For some of us, our passion for food comes from childhood memories. Foods we grew up with, especially holiday dishes, have a powerful hold on us. We seek to recreate and replicate those memories.
At dinner, my parents and relatives would reminisce about their pasts. Their parents, growing up during the Great Depression, and how people looked after and took care of each other during those hard times. The men talked about their wartime experiences.
As an adult, I missed many family Thanksgivings. Police officers work holidays. But, I never missed Thanksgiving. Some restaurant would send over a couple of turkeys, a ham, and all the trimmings. Cops would filter in and out of the station. We would sit down together in that dingy station and enjoy our feast.
Once, we were called to an apartment to take a crime report. The family was poor, but they were having Thanksgiving dinner. They invited us to stay. Even those who have the least find ways to share something.
Two years ago, I spent Thanksgiving alone. It was the first time I was alone on that holiday. I made turkey, dressing, a few side dishes. Nothing would stop me from the tradition of a feast, even if it was just for me.
I sat down to eat. I was not really alone. I looked around the empty table and saw the faces of the past. Mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and others. That Thanksgiving was about reliving memories.
I am grateful for those memories.
I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving.