Generations · Seasons

Let us give thanks… for the memories…

I love fall!  It’s my favorite season!  In that season is nestled my favorite holiday… Thanksgiving!  I love Thanksgiving because it involves family and friends, yummy food, all the beautiful rich-colored fall decorations, and it in a way, forces us all to stop and really reflect on what we are thankful for.  While I need to be thankful every day (and do try), this time of year brings it all to the forefront.

My sister and I were talking this morning about needing a extra large table on which you could set all of the food and the people at one time.  Platters and bowls circle around the table and the food and fellowship is shared with no one needing to get up from the feast.  Does anyone have a table that large anymore?

I have some wonderful memories of Thanksgivings gone by.  One that really stands out is my brother Jeff and his green beans.  I looked down my side of what seemed like our very large dining room table, only to see Jeff with two green beans sticking out of his nose!  I about fell off my chair with laughter, and my parents… well, their reaction was not quite like mine!  It was a classic moment that will live forever in my memories!

Our table was always fabulous!  Out came the china, silver, crystal and cloth napkins!  We were being “green” and did not even know it!  Not only did my mom cook up an amazing meal (except for the Giblet Gravy), she also set a beautiful table. The table was topped off with intricate place holders for each person attending; created by my talented sister, Megan!  I remember pilgrim hats – “pilgrim boy hats” for the boys and “pilgrim girl hats” for the girls!  My other favorite was the beautiful turkeys with little colored feathers!  She must have cut out 500 tiny turkey feathers of all colors, and glued them to these turkeys that sat at the head of our plates to mark our spot.  I’ve tried to do something similar over the years, but will never live up to her fabulous work!  Thanks, Megan!

I loved the dark meat and the skin!  Grandma made killer sweet potatoes every year!  I was not a fan of stuffing or cranberry sauce, but have grown to love them in my wiser years!  I Didn’t care for olives then either… which was a good thing because my sister, Kate, was the queen of disappearing olives!  I think I remember ten olives on someone’s fingers…. oh, another proud “green bean” moment for my parents!  The fruit salad that my mom always made just got in the way of all of the gravy and potatoes, but was mandatory.  Who on earth thinks about eating healthy on Thanksgiving?  Pumpkin pie was the bomb – especially loaded up with fresh whipped cream!  But the crowning glory was the butter!  Yes, I said it… real butter!  Not the fake stuff!  Three times a year the real stuff came out and this was one occasion!  Oh, the sweet memory of real butter dripping out of my white dinner roll!  Yikes, I feel my chest tightening as I type!

My last Thanksgiving memory worth sharing is one that my dear sister Mary brings up every year!  My first Thanksgiving meal that I ever prepared was in my third year of marriage to my first husband.  I set a beautiful table… well, I tired anyway!  We had cloth napkins and a pretty table cloth!  I washed, buttered, seasoned, stuffed and tied up my first turkey ever!  In the oven it went… timer set…. glass of wine poured.  Life was good!  I took a moment to call Mary to wish her well and she began asking about my turkey!  I shared all that I did and how I was now just waiting for the glorious bird to cook!  It was going to be a fabulous first Thanksgiving!  She then proceeded to ask about the little plastic bag of innards.  “What little plastic bag of innards?” I replied!  I frantically hung up, set the wine aside; untied and unstuffed my bird, only to find a little bag of nasty stuff way in the back.  Out it came and I prepared my bird a second time!  Whew!  Crisis averted!  Thanks, Mary!

Memories are sweet, but they can become a bit more faint as the years pass.  When life seems more difficult than usual, memories can bring to mind what was good and right.  Sometimes that is just what we need to take our mind off of the hard stuff in the here and now, and bring some joy from the past to make us smile.  I look forward to making more Thanksgiving memories in the years to come.  While I need to be thankful every day, it’s nice to have that special day each year to bring everyone to a quiet place of thankfulness and to remember.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! 




Back in the olden days… you know, the olden days!  What does that mean?  What constitutes “the olden days?”  Is it back when we were not alive or were very young?  The older I get, the more likely it is that I have lived in the olden days.  It seems that the generation that lived in the olden days had it easier than us… life was simpler.  I’ve often thought that I would have done well living long ago… when life was simpler.  

Remember Ma (Caroline) Ingalls… what worries did she have?  She had a little house on the prairie… two rooms with a loft! She did not have to clean toilets!  Her menu choices were small so meal planning must have been a piece of cake!  She lived on the prairie and did not have to mow the lawn or rake leaves.  Heck, in the winter they were snowed in their cabin so she didn’t even have to shovel!  Christmas shopping was a breeze… oh ya, they didn’t do it!  She did not have to send Christmas cards.  I’m sure life was much easier!  

Fast forward to our parent’s generation – early to mid 1900’s.  You know, the black and white time.  As a little girl, I was so sad for anyone living in the olden days… their lives were so gray.  How hard could they have had it?  Moms stayed home and prepared the home for the arrival of their husbands.  Kids played outside, just coming in for meals.  During the depression there was no food so they didn’t even have to come in to eat.  The streets were safer, with no petty crimes – only gangsters… and they hung out in the big cities! Families whistled as they walked down the street and all kids had respectful friends like Eddie Haskel.  I’m sure life was much easier!

Continue forward to our generation – 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.  You know, the time of really amazing hair and clothing!  Our biggest worry was which leg warmers to wear over our stretch pants.  Or did we have all of our homework done in time for Wonderful Word of Disney on Sunday nights… right after Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom?  45’s were $1.00 at Newberrys (plus the bus fair to get downtown) and candy really did cost a penny at the Milk Bottle on Garland!  Movies at the Fox were double headers… two for the price of one!  Life WAS much easier!

So, here we are today… 2011… 21st Century… the present day… you know, WAY in the future!  Technology rules our lives.  Phones with a cord are obsolete.  Everything is instant and fast and ever-changing.  Who needs to be ready to watch our favorite program because we will just DVR it!  We don’t watch shows about talking cars or wild animals… we watch crime drama’s and reality TV.  If you don’t like what the family is doing or watching, just pull something different up on your computer or one of the other three TV’s in the house.  Who needs to use good old fashioned verbal communication anymore… we have texting!  Never mind actually getting together to share a meal or visit.  No time!  

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and our youth are living it large!  The world where kids respect adults and care about others… not there.  The world where kids play a neighborhood game of Kick The Can together… not there.  They stand around and text each other.  Words that we would never even have considered saying or actually said out loud are now common language…”it’s just the way we talk.”  A world of “reach out and touch someone” has taken on a total different meaning.  This generation is entitled… or so they think.  

It’s NOT easier, but it’s all they know.  The way we lived was all we knew!  I often think about how each generation truly believed that they were on the cutting edge of technology and life!  Life has always changed, but not at the rate it is today.  I think the Ingalls were on to something moving there family out onto the prairie away from the hustle and bustle of the city!  Some days I long to live in a time that was easier… you know when movies were a nickel and everyone walked barefoot to school… uphill both ways… in the snow!