"If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It's a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it's time to reflect on what's come before."
--Mitchell Burgess, Northern Exposure, Thanksgiving, 1992
I miss the Thanks-
givings of my past. I didn’t know how much I enjoyed them until they slowly disap-
peared. As a child lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins would gather at the appointed house for the holiday festivities of food and football. For years I was the youngest one in the family until my older cousins and siblings started having kids of their own. I was closest in age to my cousin, Vicki. We would sneak past the tables before they were officially open and place black olives on each of our fingers and delight in eating them one by one. (I am befuddled to this day that neither of my children even like black olives. Can they possibly be my offspring?) The lingering memories are festive and warm even though I resented always sitting at “the kid’s table” and my mother was usually totally stressed out during the time surrounding the day. I can still, however, smell the pumpkin pies that were always baking when I came home from school on the Wednesday before and that smell is still pure comfort to me.
Those times are long since gone. In between were Thanksgiving celebrations with the family of my first husband, often including my mother since my brother and sister no longer traveled the long distance home and my father had died soon after I started college. The next memories I recall were as Bill (my husband of 20+ years) and I shared Thanksgiving in Tulsa with his sisters who also lived there. One of the defining moments of my life came as I prepared my first turkey in my own home at the ripe old age of 28. It dawned on me that somehow I had become “the” adult.
When we moved to Seattle in 1989, we found ourselves in the midst of a motley assortment of Thanksgiving guests including random cousins, Bill’s parents and friends we met as new residents to the city. For years we created our own family and it was my house filled with the smell of pumpkin pies, roasting turkey and young children’s laughter. Somewhere in time, things started to slip away. Cousin’s graduated from school and moved away. Parents decided the drive was too risky through the mountain pass. Friends drifted toward other places and cities. Children grew up.
So today, I find myself one week away from the holiday with no plans. (We were originally invited to be with friends, but life circumstances have removed that option.) My kids keep asking the question, “What are we doing for Thanksgiving?” I don’t know. And while I realize that I have so much for which to be thankful and my gratitude is immense, I still long for a house full of family and for my stressed out mother who has long since passed away. I want someone else to be “the adult.” I realize this may sound a little selfish or at least self-centered, because I know there are millions of people with no home, no family, no food & no warm memories. Please understand, my caring heart does not diminish their sufferings. And still…
I miss the Thanksgivings of my past and today (in the present), I wonder what the future will hold. What does this holiday season evoke in you?
"pumpkin pie" from wikipedia