Of course, we all know what Thanksgiving is really about: Giving thanks. It’s easy to forget that as we make our plans to be with family and friends, eat a lot of turkey, and watch football. Some have even started calling it “Turkey Day.” But as we strive to remember what the day is for and how it began, we also focus on what it has become and the traditions that have been carried through the years.
When I was growing up, my whole family usually went to my grandmother’s house, and I visited with aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc. And while many of my cousins are several years older than I am, I do have two who are close to my age: Beth and Anne. A study in personality differences, they are four and six years younger than I am.
My brothers and I played with them in the back of the house, never knowing what Beth would come up with. She’s one of the most energetic, ebullient people I’ve ever known. From bending a spoon while fighting with my younger brother over who picked it up first in a card game called “Spoons,” to announcing that the kids would put on a show for the others, then dancing about gleefully while the rest of us skulked in the background, she was far from shy, and always up to something. Her sister, Anne, however, is the polar opposite: Sweet and quiet, never saying anything bad about anyone.
So many of my holiday memories center around them, since my older cousins weren’t that interested in “the children,” and a couple of them lived 1000 miles away in New York State. (They were more personable, but I didn’t see them often). My high school and college-age boy cousins always had a football game on, and during halftime the rest of us gathered around the television to watch the band and majorettes.
It seemed like we were there all day, and even though I had fun with Beth and Anne, and the food was good (I never did graduate from the breakfast room to the dining room), I felt restless at times. And while I don’t miss being held captive in that house until everyone was exhausted and full, I do miss being with my extended family, and they’ll always have a special place in my heart.
What does Thanksgiving mean to you? Are there traditions and memories you hold dear?