Just the mere thought of Thanksgiving makes me feel all warm and cozy. Even though it hasn’t been this way in years, I think I will always have images of my Grandma’s house when I was little, and that festive atmosphere that surrounded it when I think of this holiday.
My Grandma Sis was one of those women that always wanted everyone around her to be having a good time. She would put herself on the spot, dance around, and sing just to make everyone laugh. She was great at giving orders- to me and all of my cousins. We all had a job. Setting the table, filling the bread basket, carving the bird (that was my dad’s job). But her? She was in charge of the cooking. Like, 90% of it. And she did a damn good job.
My grandma made some really special dishes, both for Thanksgiving and not, that will forever hold a special place in my heart, and in my belly. Her dishes were…authentic, comforting, so satisfying…they must have been made with so much love. She made things like spinach patties, stuffed artichokes, corn bread, stuffing, and biscuits. All the buttery, delicious carbs… Even the vegetables turned out this way! Hey, I wouldn’t change a thing.
She also opened a can of cranberry jelly on Thanksgiving- that log thing? Yep, she loved that.
I remember arriving at her house on Thanksgiving, before 3 pm, and immediately starting to count down the minutes until we’d eat. Sure, I helped get it all ready…a bit. But then, my cousins and I would sit down at the kids’ table, and we would actually fake eat until we got the go to real eat. We visualized, if you will, the entire meal, throwing in a prank or two at my littlest (now biggest and tallest!) cousin while we were at it. We’d use our fork and knives, and cut the air, and describe to each other how delicious the turkey was, and the mashed potatoes. I hated stuffing at that time, and gravy. Both the real and the fake. I must have been crazy.
I remember loading up my plate (for real this time) and my grandma telling me my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I may have been little, but I could eat. I’d finish my plate AND get seconds… (thirds?)… And then my cousins and I would go run around- oh to be a little kid again- to burn off all those calories immediately after consuming.
Dessert was not as memorable- because I am 99% sure there must have been pie- but all I remember are those dry, bland shortcakes that I’d load up with strawberries and douse in whipped cream. So gourmet, right?. At the time, I craved those strawberry short cakes- they were delicious! Now, I think I’d pass- except for a bite to cherish the memory- that would make it worth it.
Thanksgiving night always ended with saying goodbye to our parents and setting up blankets on my grandma’s “frontroom” floor. Me, my sister, my cousins, and I. We’d pop in a tape- Alice in Wonderland, the Pincushion Man, or Mary had a Little Lamb- flip the TV to channel 3- and we all watched until we drifted asleep.
In the morning, we’d get ready to go by my aunt to decorate her Christmas tree. Moving onto the next Holiday already.
These are just memories now, because little is this way anymore. Except for family and togetherness. And the massive amounts of good food. But my grandma set a tone that can never be replicated. And that’s okay. We have a new thing going, and I can say that I am happy to have had those memories, those tastes, those images… And how lucky am I to associate Thanksgiving to such a special person.
Anyway, happy, happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope you take time to appreciate all you have today.
My mom sent me this picture- it’s not of my grandma, but it’s of me, my sister, and my cousins… getting ready to feast on Thanksgiving a long time back…