Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks

A friend of mine once said that Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday.

Unlike Christmas, there weren't gifts.
Unlike Birthdays, there was no hunt to get the right thing.
Unlike Valentine's Day, no candy, no flowers.

Just family and friends, good cheer, and food. He liked that.

What I remember around our house at Thanksgiving was that it actually started the night before. My mother began getting the turkey prepped for the long ride in the oven that lay ahead.  Butter, for flavor, was put in strategic areas of the bird that only my mom knew.  The stuffing, the dinner rolls, the yams, the green beans, all were in various stages of 'getting ready.'

Turkey Day was filled with the house smelling, well, like Thanksgiving and that meant gooood. It began like that early and smelled scrumptious all day. When we were younger, we had a half of a sandwich for lunch to help keep us empty. Not that we needed an incentive not to fill up.

ETA was around three.

My mom was a great cook. Dad always says she couldn't even open a can when they were newlyweds but I'm here to tell ya that by the time I arrived, it was on.

One time I was interviewing Patti LaBelle and when I arrived she was cooking shrimp in the kitchen. I tasted it and declared it heavenly, Patti smiled and said, "Next time, I'll put my foot in the pot."

I had never heard that before.

It means next time I'll really cook for you.

Mom could put her foot in the pot.

The hardest thing is getting everything ready at the same time. Mom could do that. In spades. Everything that needed to be hot was and everything that had to be cold was cold. The plates were full, grace was said, and gentlemen start your engines.

Dinnertime at our house was like one of those old variety shows. My older sister, Leslie, sang opera at the table and my younger sister, Karen, was doing her Cher impression. My brother, Kirk, was trying to get my mom to bet a dollar on the football game. My dad tried to be funny and was, my mom didn't try but was a hoot.

Great food, great conversation, great memories.

I have my own Thanksgiving dinner now and it kind of goes like this....lots of taters, turkey, stuffing, rolls and family. First off, all the food is great and a miracle as well in that my wife doesn't cook. She has people bring a dish, which works, and I get a real home cooked meal.

I'm okay with that.

What's more important is who will be around the table. My family, Denise's mother, her sister, Jan, plus Jenna's father with not one but two dogs hoping something gets dropped.

Being thankful, is the order of the day.

That and watching football and having seconds and thirds and another slice of pie and...

It's a holiday with no presents.

The gift is sitting right there with you.





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