I used to wake up on Thanksgiving morning to faint sounds of clattering from the kitchen.By the time I woke up, my mother had already been hard at work for several hours; preceded already by several days of prep work. My house was always the destination for extended family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We cleaned the dust bunnies under the couch, waxed the banister, and brought out an extra table. A turkey thawed in a cooler on the deck, and rows of pies cooled on the side table.
I would creep downstairs and say good morning to my mom, taking a peek at the giant turkey in the oven, before turning on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Soon it was time to prepare for our guests. We would smooth out the tablecloths and bring platters of veggies and dip, ginger snaps and pumpkin dip, and steaming hot stuffed mushrooms. Family members would pour in out of the cold, hugging and chatting, and the house was filled with laughter.
Mashed potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds, butternut squash, homemade cranberry sauce, hot dinner rolls, fresh gravy, stuffing, and a giant turkey, roasted to perfection. Silence would fall over the table as we ate, savoring each bite. My Grandfather and I loved the drumstick, and every Thanksgiving, they were reserved for us. When the plates were cleared, we would lean back, stuffed, and spend time catching up. Coffee would come out and the pies were uncovered, pumpkin, apple, pecan, and a cheesecake.
What I remember most about those Thanksgivings was the warmth of a house full of people who loved me, and the quiet moments around the table as we all sat down around the food my mom had so painstakingly prepared. The food brought us all there, away from the distractions and the troubles found in our daily lives. For one afternoon we were able to be together, and to appreciate that togetherness. As the years passed and people drifted away, getting married and passing away, our gatherings changed and grew smaller, but every year we pause to be thankful for the things we have and the people we love.
I am thankful for the memories I have from the holiday with people who are no longer with us, and for the people who are far away. I am honored to bring my mom’s recipes to the table’s of my friends, and to carry on the tradition of bringing people together for a quiet moment of reflection around the table.
Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at Life & Thyme!