I realize it’s not Thanksgiving Day…yet. I know it’s not just about the turkey…although it certainly plays a very important part in the festivities. Something that reclines in the center of your table, probably would. But this special time has been on my mind.
We all have our earliest and favorite memories of Thanksgiving Day. Each year adds another one, until we have an album of sorts to thumb through and cherish.
My earliest memory was when I was in first grade at Spangler Elementary School in Longmont, Colorado. Our class was having a re-enactment of the first Thanksgiving Day. (I thought that was pretty good and special at the time since I was fairly certain none of us had been there!) We were to wear long dresses and tall, black hats…large white collars. We could dress as Indians if we wanted to. You know, just like the pictures we had been studying in our history book.
My mother stayed up the night before this big day and made me a long, calico skirt to wear. I absolutely loved that skirt and wore it until I was a teenager and it hit at about the knees. I remember getting up the morning of the celebration at school and hoping I had a skirt to wear. And there it laid, across the back of my mother’s rocking chair in its calico glory, yellow zig-zag trim adorning the flounce. I thought it the most beautiful piece of clothing I had ever owned! I wore it proudly to school, a white blouse complimenting my ‘costume’.
Of course most of the boys dressed as Indians. They had feathers in their hair and stripes on their cheeks. I don’t recall any tall, black hats or white collars. I think even at the age of six or seven we knew this was not cool back in 1970-1971. We all looked magnificent in our Thanksgiving Day Celebration glory.
All our mothers were to make a Thanksgiving dish to share. I don’t remember what my own mother made. I was still enthralled with the skirt! We all gathered on the white-tiled floor of our new school classroom, sitting on a large quilt. We then had our Thanksgiving feast and talked about what we had learned. I do remember praying for our meal as well because we were to be, well…thankful.
Of course many, many Thanksgivings have occurred over the years since that one. I always remember a gathering of family and sometimes friends. My mother was a fantastic meal planner and we always had way, too much great-tasting food. For a few years we had a wood cook stove in our kitchen and that prepared the turkey to perfection…you just couldn’t stand to be in the kitchen!
One of our years in Crown Point, New York brought a huge snowstorm for Thanksgiving. It was just beautiful and my father got some wonderful pictures of our house at that time for our Christmas cards. In later years, I always thought it pretty special that my future husband was in Schroon Lake that same year.
Our years in Arizona don’t really bring special Thanksgiving memories. I must admit, I had a hard time with the holiday season there. I always wanted the ‘Norman Rockwell’ atmosphere. Arizona is beautiful in its own way…but there are not a lot of deciduous trees and white picket fences. It did snow where we lived at the base of the Catalina Mountains, but seriously…it was just not the same!
My marriage and each additional child added more memories to gather in my mind and bore children and grandchildren with in future years. The cycle will continue this Thursday, Thanksgiving 2015.
What are your special memories of this day? What people and places come to mind? We all have a kaleidoscope to share. For us here in America, let’s remember to be thankful for those first settlers that came. For ALL that gathered together and shared the meal. Remember the freedoms we still have, the people that have fought for them over the centuries. Be thankful for family and friends that make this life more enjoyable and share our burdens so that our load is lighter. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!