This post is an excuse to show a pic of one of my favorite depictions of the American Home, "Freedom from Want", by Norman Rockwell. If you're wondering, that's me on the left with the nice head of dark hair, well situated eyebrows and giant grin at seeing good food. Thanksgiving is sliding down in importance because our consumer culture cannot "sell" you anything for this holiday. It's about food and family. I love Thanksgiving and will never skip over it for more Christmas Shopping. Bah.
Thanksgiving is a day of good memories for me. My mom always hosted Thanksgiving for her side of the family (the colder side). My mom must be adopted because she just does not fit in with them. On Wednesday nights before T-day, my aunt and cousins would come over. My mom, aunt, sister and cousin Erin would make all of the pies, stuffing etc that night, and my cousin James and I would play football outside witht he lights on or watch 80s action movies that my uncle normally did not let him watch. My sister also had to make bread which was my Gramma's (other side of the family) recipe. The house would smell so good.
Thanksgiving mornings were about sleeping in and watching the Macy's parade. I'm a big Snoopy fan, so I always tried to catch his balloon (he was just on in his fighter pilot gear). I did like seeing the marching bands from different schools. It made playing in a school band look cool. I'd get dressed in a sweater (it was Maine) and khaki pants. No jeans! My mom would put out fudge, which is absolutely amazing, at about noon. This was just enough time to spoil your meal. I could eat about a lb of that fudge in a sitting. Then drink some water and eat another lb. It's that good.
As people arrived, the lineup was usually, my family (mom, dad, sis), my mom's sister's family (mataunt, uncle, two cousins), my memere and pepere and then my memre's mom, Memere Tardiff. I was lucky as my great grandmother came to Thanksgiving meals up until I was in college. The meal was always good, and the kid table usually had decent conversation. When I was younger it was about cartoons and school, and when I was older it was about who was dating who and school. At the end of the meal, my great grandmother did the dishes. She did them so she could pick off leftover food from other people's plates. I would say I usualy at the most at the meal if you excluded my great grandmother finishing off plates while doing the dishes. After her death, kind of in honor of her, I did some dishes. I guess the biggest eater should.
After the meal, there was usually a 30 minute break before desserts. The men would go to our family room to watch the end of the Lions game, and the women would go to the living room to listen to Christmas music and talk about whatever women talk about when they get together. My uncle and pepere would usually doze off. When I was younger, my cousin and I would play one on one tackle football. If we were lucky, it would snow a little, but that was not often. We'd come in an dessert would be ready. Blueberry, apple, chocolate cream, pumpkin, lemon meringue (sp?) and pumpkin & cream pie. If you had an energy problem, a round of desserts would do you good. It would be sometime around 5ish when people would start to leave. My family would end up having a small bit of leftovers later if we had room. As I got older, I would visit my buddy Al's home, where his mom would require a plate of food to be eaten before I could sit down. A couple of years, she even made me my own pumpkin pie. I'd stay up watching movies with my friends and plan the annual Thanksgiving Friday football game. Hard to imagine this all fit into 16 hours.
I am so thankful for my life. When I see that Rockwell painting, it does remind me of my Thanksgivings growing up. I was lucky. I am lucky.