Thanksgiving—either the holiday observance (below) or the act of being thankful—can mean different things to different people. It’s all in the perspective.
Some love to find humor and remembrance where they can in the holiday that usually involves ingesting foods specialized for the day:
1) And a short story in limerick form sprung to my mind–my creation for good or ill about Turkey Tom (below), Ha!:
There once was a large Turkey named Tom.
His beautiful plumage made him strut about with feathery aplomb.
But Tom’s days were numbered according to the farmer,
Despite Tom being a barnyard charmer.
So Tom hid out amongst the pigs till the deed was done.
Yet in his haste to prevent himself becoming a taste sensation,
Turkey Tom forgot the first rule of turkey self preservation.
You don’t merely hide next to the porkers,
Which are also likely to be beset with eager forkers.
Instead, you take a turk-cation.
Turkey Tom’s wiles saved him in the end.
To a breeding farm, Turkey Tom they did send.
Turkey Tom was treated like a poultry king,
Since the Lady turkeys, his praises did sing.
And tirelessly to his breeding legacy, he did tend.
Sorry! I hope that wasn’t too fowl/foul. 😉
2) “Gobble till you wobble was a favorite Thanksgiving phrase in our family growing up. And over the years, age and gravity make it now all too true a descriptor. Ha! The variety of foods that one can see at a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal are often most found at restaurant buffets (such as Dockside Vancouver, below). But the alert hostess will invite guests to bring to their home whatever dinner sides they wish to augment the meal. And the rest is gastronomic history!
I think that I may have mentioned previously about the Russian Regional Reps who visited our town for a week on their U.S. tour—their visit arrangements to our town were organized in part by our local League of Women Voters group. So, as they were organizing the series of events for early November, I piped up that we could fix a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Everyone liked that idea. So the meal was held at our home—and included a former mayor of our town who was active in LWV—I made the turkey and dressing and the other LWV ladies chipped in with some of the sides like pecan pie. And since I only had 6 place settings of my good blue and white wedding china—which I gave to the visitors to eat off of—I filled in with my nice blue and white Willow ware dishes set.
Our dining room was packed with our dining table and another sturdy folding table covered in linen table cloths seated about 12 people! What we hadn’t counted on was that the Thanksgiving foods that have evolved to the modern day—onion and sage dressing, pumpkin and pecan pies, a turkey with gravy, etc.—were not foods our guests were seemingly accustomed to. So our best of intentions in welcoming the visitors with a traditional Thanksgiving meal, only received a luke warm reception. I wonder how the meal items were viewed at the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving? Ha! Though I will say that the visitors gamely tried a few bites of everything. And the elder but less prestigious of the two gentlemen was graciousness itself and complimented the cooks.
3) Finally, there is no right or wrong way as to how you spend/celebrate this or any other holiday. As a child, we always spent Thanksgiving with my Grandmother and cousins at a hotel restaurant in the town where my Grandmother lived. The restaurant had a buffet for Thanksgiving every year and there was an old timey trivia video game in the hotel’s lobby that we kids burned our quarters in. But what made our family gathering more interesting to me was that when I was still quite young, the waiters brought me a cupcake with a candle on it, since my birthday coincided with Thanksgiving that year—as it would every so often.
So in my child’s mind, the reason that my family gathered together that day was to celebrate my birthday–and not that it was a holiday. At the next year’s family gathering for Thanksgiving at the restaurant when no cupcake with candle came, nor the year after that, I was a little disappointed—until I understood how the Thanksgiving Day Holiday and my birthday fit together. Oh and one of my older cousins and I shared the same birthday, so that was extra special, too. Though I don’t recall the restaurant giving my cousin a cupcake in the years when I got one. Hmmm. Well, I was little, and cuter. Ha!
And more often than not, when we went to my husband’s family for Thanksgiving or Christmas– in the early years of our marriage–lasagna was what was served. It was a one pan meal with salad and bread for sides, and a yummy dessert. Brilliant as to the minimal clean up! Especially since disposable plates were used, rather than fine china that has to be washed by hand. So less cleanup and more time for playing board or card games and reminiscing, all the while with my late father-in-law watching a football game, etc.
And for many years, my hubby and I had hosted our now deceased church lady friend to Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day dinners in our home—when we no longer had to try to see both sides of our families for meals on the holidays on the same day. Whew! She was elderly and her sister’s many now grown into adults kids, grandkids, and great grandkids were a bit too boisterous for her. So we miss her terribly around the holidays, as we also miss both sets of our parents who are gone, and other family members who have passed away—including my cousin with whom I had shared a birthday, until he passed away a few years ago. I am not maudlin about these memories, their memories—though a bit teary eyed I will admit to. Yet I would rather remember them–for all the heartache of their passing it brings to me—because we shared many lovely times together. And that is what I focus upon—the happy memories.
So on this Thanksgiving Day? My hubby and I will roast a small 4.5 lb turkey breast, make some onion and sage dressing from scratch with an old family recipe, make a green bean casserole, steam corn, pop open a can of whole cranberries, corn bread muffins (especially for my hubby), crescent rolls, along with baking the store bought twice baked potatoes and pumpkin pie that I’ll pop into the oven Thursday morning. We have scaled down the cooking portions to allow us some leftovers, but to not have to inordinately pack our small freezer.
And I’m trying to keep to my diet guidelines of having just “a taste” of something—in terms of one small spoon scoop of each food item prepared for Thanksgiving—with a nice distribution of fruits and vegetables. Another way I psyche myself out is to use a small salad plate for my meal, rather than a large dinner plate. The smaller salad plate looks filled with abundance—except for putting my cold cranberries in a separate small container from my small hot foods plate.
My husband and I feel grateful and thankful to have the wherewithal to be able to make a varied meal for ourselves–when others cannot—despite our looming medical bills that we’re slowly paying off. And we also make donations to local food pantries, the UN global refugee NGO, and such that help those in need around the world. And don’t forget those Salvation Army bell ringers. They stand outside in the cold to solicit donations to help those in need. And sometimes the bell ringers are themselves the ones in need–and they are paid an hourly wage for bell ringing, as well as being on the list for receiving aid. We also have several local needy kids holiday gifts organizations that help thousands of kids receive at least one toy or clothing items for Christmas.
And in giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day, please be sure to be thankful for and appreciate yourself. For each of us is a unique individual with some gifts to develop and some gifts to share with others—friendship, comfort, brownies/cookies/pies/cake, a willingness to listen, standing up for someone else or ourselves, giving and accepting praise, making donations from the heart of our time, talents, or treasure for causes that we care about, inviting others to join us, donating our blood or a kidney, seeking more education or knowledge, patience, and remembering that having fun is okay, etc.
Whether you are eating a large or small Thanksgiving Day meal with friends, family, attending multiple gatherings– or you are having a quiet holiday with just yourself/yourselves as my hubby and I are this year, etc.–I wish you a joyous and/or a relaxing day.
So let us share a hug together on this Thanksgiving Day. Wrap your arms around yourself, and squeeze. That’s a hug from me to you. And I will do the same in feeling your hug back to me. Love & Hugs! Grati ;->
P.S. And for those who like a more traditional holiday celebration, Cyn Dainty made a lovely RA Thanksgiving wallpaper (below):
And then there is always the delightful and talented British actor Richard Armitage holiday message tweet with a new selfie: