Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Musings

When I was a little girl, my brothers and sister woke up on Thanksgiving Day and we watched the Macy's parade on TV. I recall seeing it in black and white, if that tells you anything. The floats, the balloons, and marching bands made it seem like a really extra special day. Although it was a school day, we did not go to school, and Dad was home. Stores and shopping centers were closed.

Around noon we got into our family car and traveled a few miles to the home of my grandparents in Detroit. They would have dinner ready for us and we would be taken to the table for a bountiful meal. Since we were not there during the preparation time, I didn't see the boiling pots, the mashing of potatoes, and the makings of a salad. I just sat down and ate. Therefore I had no clue how grateful I should have been. Every year we had the same traditional things. I ate some unfamiliar foods that became part of my history so that my own Thanksgiving feasts are not quite the same without them. I don't know where my grandmother bought those little red candied apples, but I miss them. They were bright red in a sweet cinnamon syrup. And sweet-sour cabbage was always served as well. I tried to like it, but it made me shiver. Still there was something so pretty about the deep purple cabbage slaw that made it seem like a treat. I always wanted to try a bite. Our meal ended with pumpkin pie and whipped cream.

Kitchens were small in those days. Although people tended to have large families they seemed to be able to cook and eat in a very small kitchen. Our family was big enough that a smaller table had to be set up for us in the living room. While the adults ate in the kitchen, the children ate at the "kids' table." Year after year I hoped that I would be big enough to eat at the "big people table," as I called it. I felt that somehow they were having more fun, and I looked forward to the day I could join them.

The years have swiftly passed and I now am helping my grandchildren into their high chair or booster seats. They may have their favorite things to eat too. I wonder what they will remember of the feasting at our house. I hope they will always carry some fond memory of a warm welcome, fragrant food, festive candles, and a powerful love for them that will help them feel secure in an insecure world. And I hope they will remember that it is God Who gives us all our daily bread, and forgives our sin, and blesses us beyond measure. May your Thanksgiving feast be one that brings back fond memories for you, and also enriches your lives with new ones. God bless you one and all.

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