This Thanksgiving truly was not that much different from the last several years. After Bruce’s death, I started going to Kansas City to spend the holiday with my brother and his family. After much deliberating and a fair amount of anxiety, I decided that I would continue this tradition. My brother and his wife are very traditional with the menu, so we had turkey and our usual side dishes. After all, the world might come to an end if we didn’t! Of course, we did not go to any of the normal holiday activities that involved being indoors with large crowds.
At my suggestion, the whole family joined in zoom sessions, which was fun. Due to the sound delay, multiple people were talking at once, but I think everyone enjoyed the visit. The main difference this year was that I did not go to Lawrence, Kansas to see my mother-in-law as I’ve done for the last several years. She is 94 and lives in an independent facility, so is in the very high risk group. Hopefully, I will eventually be able to visit with her in person.
This year was one of the most relaxed Thanksgiving days. I was doing all the cooking, but with only Karla coming I had time to plan and cook ahead. The menu was easy. We tried a Cajun turkey from Popeye's Chicken. It was super easy to do, basically heat and eat and so yummy! I had heard about them and was able to get one earlier. That left leisure time to get pies baked, prepare salad, and get the fixings together for dressing. I have a friend who has a very sick adult child and when she heard what we were doing, she asked if she could have some. That fit very well with my plan to give away some of the food, so as we were cleaning up, Karla made food for my friend and herself and I did dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. It was a very relaxed day. I am grateful for this. I have been trying to look for the good that has come with this year instead of only focusing on the negative aspects without hiding my head in the sand.
Ed made a small breakfast, because I had made sweet pumpkin rolls to go with it. I spent the morning making an 8 pound turkey, gravy, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fresh green beans. I added my homemade cranberry relish, Dark cherry jello, and apple spice herbal tea, and we ate at 1PM with china and silver. We both loved the meal.
At 3:30 we went to the back yard of our daughter’s house and had delicious Svea-homemade brownies and ice cream. I also brought my homemade pumpkin pie. The attached picture shows the origami decorations Svea made for our table. We had a nice conversation as Svea climbed into their backyard tree. I brought Svea an amaryllis, which she seemed excited about, and she vowed to water it until it bloomed. A few hours later we Zoomed our son and wife, and talked for almost 2 hours, until we were all exhausted. We never did Zoom with everyone together, but that’s okay. It turned out to be a family day after all, one we are thankful for.
Chris always says "It came and went" whenever I ask him about an event or a day. But then, today he went on to say, "I'm amazed at how good a life we have, much better than my parents." And he is right about our situation. We have security and comfort that many in our country don't have.
Our day was quiet and easy. I made us a late brunch and we relaxed until time to head over for dinner with Karla and Fredrick. Karla had a good time decorating the table and making a beautiful turkey dinner. It was a true change of pace for her to have time to be creative and enjoy cooking. I, on the other hand, read a murder mystery most of the day. What fun it was.
I didn't try to call any of our family members, maybe because it would make me sad. Ray & family would have a big crowd and lots of fun and confusion. My sister, Sonya, and husband, Mallory would be quiet. I do text regularly with my cousin in St. Augustine so I feel connected to her. I talked with the Chaplain with Charter Home Health about my sense of isolation and she is going to be looking for a support group or at least another caregiver for me to talk with. I'm really not comfortable being gone from home for longer than a couple of hours at a time. It's a new path we are walking now so I am learning how to make my way along.
We had talked with our neighbor, out on the street as we paused in our walk, who said making a big Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful for years, but then it wasn't and she was glad to pass the baton on to her daughter. Pretty well sums up how I feel about making a holiday meal.
Karla and I both love having company and making parties so we will be thankful when we can gather with friends again. Holidays will be brighter in the future, I hope.
This is a mixture of many thoughts, so glad I have y'all to share them with. Peace to you all!
2020 has been a very challenging year, and the holidays are no exception. This year, we were blessed (?) with warmer than normal temperatures on Thanksgiving. The morning temps were in the 40s, but by midday, it was in the mid-70s and calm. It was perfect for having our feast on the patio. Instead of gathering with our extended family (my brother's family), we just had our son's family of three. Three households cooked food, but we split the food between households so I only had to cook three dishes and benefitted from what others cooked. And since we ate outside, I didn't feel the need to deep clean the house or set up a fancy table--biggest bonus!
After our meal, I did a science experiment with Ruby from a Girl Start STEM kit I'd purchased for her recently, which was fun. Some just stretched out on the chaise lounge or the outdoor loveseat and rested. Tim made some little plaques on his laser cutter for everyone and we had to use our word in a sentence. Later, we walked the dog in the park (with masks) and our granddaughter went home. But a couple of hours later, we all got on Zoom with Kelly's family and played group games for a couple of hours. I'm so grateful we could get everyone "together", in spite of the distance and the odd circumstances.
It's not likely to be so warm at Christmas, so I'm not sure how that will go, but I imagine we can figure something out for a short physical visit and hope to meet online again as well. Hopefully, we only have a few more months before we can get vaccinated and back to some sort of normal gathering.
I don’t have that many memories of childhood Thanksgivings, but I do remember my aunt’s chicken and noodles served over mashed potatoes. I was a very picky eater (certainly have gotten over that!), but they were delicious.
When my sons were young, we had numerous holiday dinners with my small, nuclear family. It was a traditional turkey, stuffing and numerous side dishes kind of meal, but the stars were my mother’s pies. We always had pecan pie and her famous chocolate meringue pie. My husband and brother would gravitate toward the pecan pie, but my sister-in-law, mom and I would eat large pieces of the chocolate.
When Kirk and Joel were in high school, we were unable to travel during Thanksgiving weekend because as band members they had to be available to play at the high school playoffs. We often had a non traditional meal since there were only the four of us, but I always tried to make it special.
My memories are around my Grandmother's table, with our family from St. Augustine coming to share with us. Lots of cooking, good food and all of us jammed around the table. It was fun.
The main memory I have is of that time of year. The late Indian Summer warmth, the way the light shifted as the sun traveled south. The smell of pine trees as my cousin and I lay on the needles under the trees and chatted about dreams for our futures.
And stayed out of the way of grownups who wanted us to wash dishes.
In my mind, I can't separate Thanksgiving from Christmas. I know we spent many years as a nuclear family as no relatives lived close. After I was married, my parents moved to northern Kansas and were close to my dad's family. Then I have pictures of my parent's house in Waterville, Kansas filled with all kinds of relatives, in-laws, too, and my favorite aunt and uncle. There were tables in all the downstairs rooms of the house. My mom was not a very adventurous cook. As someone else remembered, the dressing went into the turkey. If it didn't it was too dry as my mom only used white bread browned in butter/oleo, giblets, celery, raisins, salt, poultry seasoning and broth from cooking the giblets. Turkey preparation usually started before 6 a.m. as the turkey had to cook a very long time to be done the way my mom wanted it. My dad always helped. There would be many pies, usually pumpkin, but my immediate family preferred pecan.
Things were different with my in-laws. There the dressing was never in the turkey and now we had cornbread dressing which I definitely prefer. One other crazy memory is going to visit my brother Stan and his wife who fixed dressing with canned oysters. We have never forgotten that as a family. Of course, we were polite about it, but did not imitate it.
One of my favorite memories, whether it was Christmas or Thanksgiving, is of all the Larson aunts being in the kitchen together, with each person working on some part of the meal. Each aunt had a specialty and my uncle Glenn had his brown beans. That was a good time!
I don't really have any childhood memories of Thanksgiving. My father couldn't cook, so there would not have been any roasted turkeys or cornbread dressing. When my sister and I were old enough to cook, we didn't have the repertoire that would have allowed for any of the typical Thanksgiving meals. I remember a lot of meals which came mostly from cans or frozen packages. I suppose we might have eaten at the homes of friends for holidays, but I don't remember any. I do have a picture taken of a family meal at my Indiana grandparents' home when I was a child, and I think it might have been Thanksgiving. (That's me with the pigtails at the big table.) This is the best I can do.
When my dad remarried, I was 13, and my stepmom was a wonderful cook. From that time on, we celebrated "Turkey Day" as a huge meal. We watched the Macy's parade on TV while dinner cooked--all of us helped with the meal--and usually had a big crowd at the table. We also were allowed naps afterward, one of the few days that was acceptable. It's as though Thanksgiving didn't exist in our family until 1966!
I have great childhood memories of Thanksgiving. It's funny because it's really one memory, as we had the same traditions every year. That's a big part of it being a happy memory. It always began with a big breakfast. My dad made bacon and eggs, while my mom contributed homemade nut bread. She ground the nuts in one of those old grinders that screwed onto the counter, then she rolled nuts, cinnamon and sugar up in her homemade dough. It was great.
After breakfast my sister and I would get mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows and settle in to watch the Macy's Day parade. My parents would then fix the turkey and dressing. I remember my dad breaking lots of white bread into pieces, and I remember the smell of sage. Back then, everyone actually put the dressing inside the bird. After Thanksgiving dinner we played Monopoly and card games like Hearts and Rook.
It's funny looking back how much the simple traditions mean.