Holidays were always a time for our family to get together. I have vivid memories of Thanksgiving as a child.
Every Thanksgiving we’d gather at my grandparents’ for a feast. We walked into my grandparents’ house and my grandfather would smile and greet us. There would be homemade biscuits that my grandmother had made. If you’d arrive early enough, they’d still be warm. She’d let us have one and then ask if we wanted butter or jelly. Of course, she wouldn’t wait for us to answer. Before we knew it, she had placed several different flavors of jelly on the snack bar for us to choose from.
As a child, I didn’t notice, but thinking back now, my grandmother spent hours and hours on her feet, cooking. A huge turkey was always cooked with my grandmother’s homemade stuffing, or dressing, as she called it.
Eventually, it was time to sit and break bread together as a family. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, along with my parents and my brother would all stop what we were doing and take our places.
Food covered my grandparents’ large table. It overflowed onto the snack bar, the China cabinet and even the stove. Desserts were placed in a huddle on the countertop by the fridge.
I remember the conversations, the laughter and the adults getting onto us when we got too loud or rowdy when we were supposed to be eating.
My grandfather sat at one end of the table and my grandmother at the other end. My grandmother was up and down throughout the meal, making sure her family had everything they wanted. After a few minutes of this, one of the adults would tell her to sit down and eat.
Once, as I sat at the snack bar with my cousins, I looked over at the “adult table” and made contact with my grandfather. Our eyes met and he smiled, his eyes glowing with such happiness and pride at his family gathered around his table. He winked at me and returned to the conversation at the adult table.
A lot has changed since my childhood. 5 places at that Thanksgiving table are now empty. There is a new generation of great grandchildren who are getting to experience traditions that began with their great grandparents, at their table, coming together for holidays.
As time marches on, we create new traditions and people aren’t just down the road from each other anymore. We’re spread out, raising children of our own, trying to keep up with jobs, appointments, and . . . life.
However, every Thanksgiving, we gather. We break bread and are thankful for the time, the company, the traditions and the memories we’ve been gifted.