Another Thanksgiving to celebrate
Sixty Thanksgivings I will have celebrated as of Thursday of this week. I had to think about this a while to make sure the number was right since I am only 59 years old. In any case, I have had a lifetime of opportunities to give thanks.
Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine. In my early school days, it was the first holiday of the year. There was no such thing as a Fall break and we didn’t get a full week for Thanksgiving.
It was, however, a break from school and a chance for generations of our family to gather. Perhaps those early memories are so special because they had all the essential components important to southerners. There was a lot of family, a lot of food, and some great stories.
There was always turkey and ham, just as we will have this week. The table also had dressing and gravy, green bean casserole, potatoes and vegetables and always Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. My grandmother’s sweet potato casserole, with enough sugar to sweeten tea, was always a favorite.
Over the years there were other additions to the table including hash brown casserole, veg-all casserole, and probably a half dozen other casseroles. As the family grew so did the fabulous food on the table.
Like most other southern families that gathered for a big meal, there was an adult table and a table for the children. As the older kids got married, their spouses joined the adult table. If you were one of the younger children you might not ever get promoted to the big table.
It wasn’t the food that was so special, although the meals were part of some great memories. What I cherish most is the recollection of my family sitting around the table telling stories. Stories of the Depression and life way back when captured the imagination of all the children. “Did you really have chickens living under the house?”
My very earliest memories of these wonderful Thanksgiving dinners were of my Great-Grandparents, who told of their own parents during the Civil War. The presence of my own Grandparents was much more prevalent as three of them lived past the time I reached 40 years of age.
My father then sat at the head of the table and told some of the best stories of all. His grandchildren remember those times with the same fond memories I have from when I was their age.
I now sit at the head of the table. I share the stories of the generations that went before me with the generations that come behind me. I am part of the link that tells the long story of our family.
There is much that I am grateful for this Thanksgiving, but nothing more than the role my family has played in my life. I can only hope that one day my own grandchildren will think the same about me.
Dan Ponder can be reached at email@example.com