When I was child, Thanksgiving was the first holiday of the year where turkey was cooked. And there was always a Smithfield ham--that hard, old ham with the strong flavor that Virginians love. And there was sage dressing, oyster stew, corn pudding, yams, a tray of spiced apples and peaches and sweet pickles, and sweet potato pie, mince pie or apple pie for dessert with real churned ice cream.
|The old bone handled knives that my father and grandfather used to carve turkey and ham|
All of this was served on the old Hepplewhite table in the big dining room. My father would carve the turkey and the ham with the bone- handled knife that has been in the family for generations. After dinner, everyone would retire to the living room where a fire would be burning in the fireplace.
It was a time that remarkably didn't have a lot of drinking. I could feel relaxed because my father was too busy helping in the kitchen, making the gravy for the turkey, and cooking his famous oyster stew. The relatives would be there, drinks would be served, but I can't remember Thanksgiving at home being a bad time when I was a child. It was as if the day itself transformed people.
And on this current day, it is too warm for a fire. We have prepared a movable feast to take to C.'s parents at their home. Not all, but some of the same food from my childhood Thanksgivings h
as been prepared. Later in the day, I will go to the hospital to visit with a friend's family. He has invited me to join them in the hospital cafeteria for a Thanksgiving meal. It won't be anything fancy, but it will have a lot of meaning to his mother who is now in physical rehab after a hip replacement, and to my friend.
Thanksgiving is about being grateful for not just food but for the good friends and family that we have. It's like a lineage of good feelings on this day. And those feelings are precious and worth holding onto. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.