Thanksgiving is one of my two favorite holidays of the year. I am sure that my feelings have much to do with the fact that this was my mother’s holiday when she was alive,. She would squeeze 30+ people into every inch of space she had in her small home and serve a feast to everyone who was mandated to attend, and anyone who needed a place to go. After all, everyone needs a place to go on Thanksgiving.
Each year’s dinner started the same way: with the reading of the menu. It took her some time to read the list of the 14 or 15 items she had prepared, followed by thanking everyone else who had contributed. “I want to thank David for bringing the butter” or “A big thank you to the Jones’ for bringing the extra folding chairs.” The truth was that people wanted to help and bring things, but this was her show, her Big Night. Occasionally, she might allow someone to bring string beans or sweet potatoes. But that usually meant we had a choice of the guest’s dish or her version of the same item.
Probably the most unusual or crazy thing that she did for the holiday was a TRIAL RUN. The weekend before Thanksgiving, she would prepare all her dishes, pack them up in Tupperware and bring them to our house, about an hour away. The holiday itself was such a source of joy and pride, I imagine that doing it only once was not enough for her. TWO THANKSGIVING DINNERS and each one was so much work. Who do you know who does that…….or wants to, for that matter? This was truly a labor of love.
She judged her success by the smiles on everyone’s faces and there were always plenty of those. This was her day to shine and she did. On Thanksgiving, she was a Star and we all knew it. Every year on this day, she got all the praises, attention, love and affection she so richly deserved.
I was lucky enough to spend 46 Thanksgivings with her. Now that Mom is gone, my great wife, Gail has inherited the holiday and she does a great job of filling Mom’s shoes. Now the holiday has become her night to shine and she does.
I had intended to write a holiday blog about Thanksgiving, more of my usual stuff about gratitude and perspective. Instead you got a story about my amazing mom and incredible wife. You will just have to trust that I do feel extraordinarily thankful and grateful for both of them.
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