Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks

We dined royally Thanksgiving evening, a full table—six adults, four children—passing serving plates galone, everyone helping themselves to turkey, stuffing, gravy, creamed onions, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, kale and red cabbage salad, and macaroni & cheese brought by our friends Ian and Karen.

Beforehand, we toasted those who were with us, those who could not be there, and those who live in our memories. We adults sipped champagne from flutes commemorating Uncle Harry’s 80th birthday; the kids imbibed sparkling cider from tiny sherry glasses that belonged to Great Grandma Wooll.

Afterward, we went around the table saying what we were thankful for—being together with family and friends was first in the running; good health and Obama’s election were mentioned; a child was grateful for J. K. Rowling for writing the Harry Potter series. My idea of getting everyone to sing rounds as a new family tradition was vetoed (but I haven’t given up).

We made our usual mess of the kitchen, me and Jesse, dancing around each other to deliver the many dishes to the waiting tableful. Maria kindly ran several loads through the dishwasher as a start to cleaning up.

We ate off table settings that stepfather-in-law Al remembered eating from at his aunt’s home in the early 1900s. We used all the silverware from the box I had from Grandma Woodruff and had to supplement with dessert forks from my mother’s silver that I carted off when she went into assisted living. With dessert (two pies and a carrot cake), the children drank chamomile tea out of the Limoges teacups, and said the act made them feel old. The youngest requested a second helping of frosting.

At bedtime, Victoria and Jimmy and I took turns reading stories to each other, and the next day we watched The Secret Garden on TV, then made paper cut Christmas ornaments out of an old nature calendar.

Another Thanksgiving drawn to a close. Sweet memories to savor, of talk and laughter, of the threads of tradition and memory that tie us together, of the surprises and delights of getting to know a new generation. Tonight, finishing up the leftover wine from several bottles, I bask in the afterglow, knowing that, whatever life holds for me, I have much to be thankful for.

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