What great memories! That was the song that filled our car as Dad drove us to Grandma’s house, usually in the snow, to congregate with all of our relatives each Thanksgiving Day. It seemed we looked forward to that dinner all year long.
There were constant reminders of how others were less fortunate, so we’d make food donations and try to help them in whatever ways we could.
We woke up each year to the sound of the Macy’s Day Parade on television. I think Dad was even more excited about the parades than we were. Of course, the grand finale–Santa’s float–seemed like it would never arrive.
We’d leave for Grandma’s house early, so that Mom and all the aunts could help her prepare the meal. As soon as we opened the front door, we were met with the delicious aroma of those freshly baked homemade parker house rolls.
Grandma was very picky, so fine china and linens were a must on this special day. Two or three tables would be pushed together so that everyone could eat in the dining room. I remember how exciting it was the year I got to move up from the kids’ table to the adult one. Our blessing before the meal was quite a chorus, with adults and children alike, in unison.
Never did turkey and dressing taste as good as back in those days. We kids were on a constant lookout for the wish bone. After all, that meant we’d get to choose our opponent and break the bone. A wish was sure to come true for the person who ended up with the longer side. It also seemed to be a yearly ritual for one of the little ones to put an olive on each finger. We were amused, even though their parents weren’t.
My husband’s family is Italian. In addition to the traditional meal, he remembers his grandfather never thinking the dinner was complete without a side dish of pasta and meatballs. No wonder they played touch football in the yard afterwards. It’s a wonder any of us could squeeze in the pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream at the end of those feasts.
A normal daily chore for us at home was to do the dishes, so the fact that our aunts took over in the kitchen each Thanksgiving was an extra-added bonus. It seemed the men ended up in front of the television, dozing off, but always with one eye glued to the football games.
After we bounced down Grandma’s inviting, carpeted steps quite a few times (much to her chagrin), the tradition in our family was that we cousins would all go to a movie together. We thought the adults were just being nice letting us go-looking back, they obviously wanted some peace and quiet!
Of course, when we returned from the movie, we were just in time for leftovers, so we’d start all over again. Hey, everyone was supposed to be stuffed on Thanksgiving, not just the turkey. Eventually, the talk turned to the anticipation of Christmas and our next family gathering. It’s no wonder Thanksgiving still evokes such a feeling of warmth.
Try our unique family game of ‘ping pong with a twist,’ if you’re looking to avoid the ‘couch-potato syndrome’ this Thanksgiving.
For more Baby Boomer memories visit our Baby Boomer website.