Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And I don’t even like turkey. What I love is the gathering. I love that we have family to celebrate. I love that every year my uncle (my father’s brother) would place the family on the living room fireplace hearth, set the camera timer and snap our portrait. There were ten of us when we started; my Mom, my Dad, my two older sisters, my aunt, my uncle and three boy cousins. The reason we gathered at my house, and it was always at my house, was that it was my parents’ anniversary. They were married on the Saturday night of Thanksgiving in 1948. Over the years, as we grew, we added to the family portrait. Boyfriends came and went, my aunt and uncle (GASP) got divorced (although both always came to Thanksgiving), and in 1986, we welcomed the third generation. My middle sister’s son was the first addition, and seven years later, my daughter joined in. After that, it seemed the kids just kept on coming until by this past year, we had eleven grandchildren. A lot more bodies to squeeze on the hearth, but my uncle persisted. Oddly enough, in 1995, my oldest sister met and fell in love with her husband. It seems his parents had the exact same anniversary as our parents, same date, same year. It seemed fitting then that they too would marry on the Saturday night of Thanksgiving. It was the only year we had Thanksgiving anywhere but at my parents’ table. In subsequent years, we added new in-laws, second husbands (mine thank goodness) and a few assorted dogs as well. And the portraits continued unabated, documenting the changes year after year. I don’t know how many cynical jokes we made at my poor Uncle’s expense, complaining about being herded into the living room and forced to sit in our usual places, but we have those annual portraits to document our family’s progress. The outtakes were sometimes better than the final winning picture. Over dinner, we celebrated our various successes, shared our triumphs and misfortunes and when one family had to miss, we speaker phoned them in for dessert. This coming year will be a very different experience for all of us. It’s been a hard and sad year for my family. We’re missing our elders. My aunt, my uncle and my father have all passed in this past year. For the first time, we will raise a glass to toast my mother, but we won’t have my Dad, her partner of 64 years. We will toast all their memories, honor their legacy, and give thanks that our families are still able to gather together and share a meal. If only we could speaker phone the absent loved ones in. We know they are with us in spirit. Uncle Larry My DAd Aunt Ellen

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