Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude, Family, and Food (and soccer and lightening)

This morning Heather slept from 3:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. What a beautiful Thanksgiving treat for me. Thanks, little girl.

Anyway, as I was lying in bed, feeling decadent around 7:24, I got to thinking about the different Thanksgiving memories I have.

Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday. I have pretty distinct memories of the different ways I've spent the day, and every year it's been a little bit different. Most of the other holidays, I more or less do the same thing every year, and it's more or less in the same place. Christmas used to always be in Cedar City, now sometimes it's in Logan. The Fourth of July is always here, with fireworks, often a barbecue, and sometimes a hike. Easter, Valentine's day, Halloween, all of the others, generally celebrated one year about the same as the previous. Not Thanksgiving though. Oh, there's (almost) always a great turkey dinner, with homemade rolls (my favorite) and several different varieties of pie. But, for all that is always the same, there's quite a bit that varies.

Last year I spent the holiday here, eating with Eric's side of our family, and watching Eric show his robot designs to the nephews.

The year before I spent the day in Paris, eating far too much French food with Tayneshia.

Then there was the year that we all loaded up and headed to my brother's two-bedroom duplex in Denver. His wife was eight months pregnant with their second child, and so traveling home for Thanksgiving was out of the question for them. Another of my brothers was engaged to be married around the time of the due date of the aforementioned child. We all wanted Melissa (the fiancee at the time) to be able to meet Robert & ShaLiece (the brother and pregnant sister-in-law), and so (with their permission) we all made our way to Denver to eat our turkey there. My brawny brothers and father had to move the sofa out of the living room and onto the front lawn to make room for a table that could seat us all. Luckily, the weather was mild, and the sofa was no worse for the wear. That was also the time that those same brawny brothers taught my then-three-year-old niece how to positively identify Peyton Manning anytime she saw a picture of him. Not a bad day's work.

On three different occasions, Thanksgiving has given our family the opportunity to 'circle the wagons' and get some much needed peace in the face of unpleasant changes. A few years ago one of my cousins, a young man that I pretty much grew up with (although I grew up a few years before he did, being a little older) died rather unexpectedly right before Thanksgiving. The funeral was held during the Thanksgiving holiday, and I remember the peaceful feeling it was to be able to all be together, and to lend each other strength at such a difficult time. Then, both my maternal grandparents passed away shortly after Thanksgiving, about five years apart. In both cases, we were able to be involved with their final Thanksgiving, and in both cases, it remains a sweet memory to me.

I have great memories of the traditions of Thanksgivings passed. We played soccer (weather permitting) before the feast when we went with my mom's family, and we played lightening in the church gym after the feast when we went with my dad's. When my dad was on call, often my grandparents would travel to spend the holiday with us, when he wasn't, we would be the ones traveling. And always after the meal, no matter who we were with, there was lots of visiting, and laughing, and do-you-remember-when-ning in the living room.

Thanksgiving just might be my very favorite holiday of all the year. Why not? It's all about gratitude, family, and food. Honestly, what's not to love about all of that?

Here's hoping that this holiday was as special as you wanted it to be, and that the season that now starts brings you peace and happiness. After the craziness that the world has been handing out over the past few months, I think we could all benefit from a little bit of the joy.

1 comment:

Kami Anderson said...

This was a great post. I enjoyed a great day yesterday with my family. Memories of past Thanksgivings were shared and new ones were made.

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