Thanksgiving is fast approaching…like tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving! Are you ready? I think I’m ready(ish). Half the fun is the cooking, and half of mine got finished last night. (Whew!) The rest of the fun is my family. I have to say, I think we’re all pretty cool people, and I really enjoy spending time with them. I kind of miss the years that Thanksgiving was a three or four-day affair. In recent years, I’ve had to narrow it down to Thanksgiving Day. My Dad sill drives up on Wednesday and stays through Friday though. This just means that I try to pack more into the day. It is me, and it is my favorite holiday, after all.
Every year it is filled with family and, well, food…lots of food. We’ll throw in a little football too…just because we can. We all come together in November to celebrate and give thanks for…everything. We gather at my Aunt’s house in rural Oklahoma, near the Kansas border. Some people come in the night before to help with the cooking, or just to visit. The rest of us start showing up around 10am. Enough time to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, but not so early that you can’t sleep in, just a bit.
We all have our “jobs” for the big day, dishes we bring and such. I always bring Greek cookies (Kourabiethes, the almond butter cookies smothered in powdered sugar) and usually I end up mashing the potatoes once I get there. Those are my favorites! I guess they figure if I’m going to eat more than the average helping of mashed potatoes, I should at least help make them. Over the last few years, I help my mom with some of her items too. The cherry cheesecake pies and the Snicker Salad to be precise. (Yes, they are as good as they sound!) Mom brings the relish (vegetable) tray and the cranberry salad (her mom’s recipe). My sister brings the broccoli cheese casserole….you get the idea.
As kids, my sister, cousin, and I would camp out on my Aunt’s living room floor on Wednesday and Thursday night. It all had a slumber party type attitude. My cousin and I had a tradition for Friday morning. We would leave my sister sleeping, and wake up really early with all the guys heading out to go quail hunting. This was less of a send off and more of an excuse to eat chocolate cake for breakfast. Then my cousin would go hunting with the rest of the guys and I would go back to sleep or to read a book until the rest of the house woke. Our Dads never protested our choice of breakfast. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain that we were not the only ones sneaking more than our fair share of that amazing cake the morning after Thanksgiving. Those mornings are some of my favorite memories.
This year, Thanksgiving will be pretty much the same…and completely different all at once. The same dishes will be served, the same table laden with food, and we will still raise the population of this tiny town by like 10%. Laughter will still reverberate through the rooms of my Aunt’s house, children (big and small) will run amok, and we’ll still have to step over my Uncle(s) who can sleep through just about anything. Football will be on the television, and old favorite stories will be told alongside the new ones. My cousin’s wife, my sister, and I will still try to get out of doing the dishes before everyone pitches in together to get it done. (There are some benefits to being an adult(ish).)
There are more people missing from the “grown-up” table (even now that I’m in my 30’s, the grown up table is different from where I sit with my cousins and my TV tray to watch football) than have been added. We’ll all get a little teary during the prayer as we remember those who have gone before us, thankful for the time we had with them and missing them more than we can say. Then someone will make a joke to lighten the mood, usually, about sending my Mom and I to the back of the food line to make sure there are enough potatoes for everyone else. After that, as we consume massive amounts of food…and visit. Usually this means telling stories. My family does love a good story…we don’t even have to make up many of them. There are “characters” a plenty.
This time of year I see a bunch of people posting on social media each day of November with one thing they are thankful for, and I think it is always a good idea to stop and reflect on all the wonderful things in your life. For me, 30 days in November is not nearly enough time to list all the things I’m thankful for! See, I do this thing that Jim Stovall calls “The Golden List”. Every morning I wake up and make a mental list of 10 things I’m grateful for. Usually, I do this while I’m still in bed. It really helps start the day off on a positive note. Big things, little things it doesn’t matter what goes on the list. Here’s today’s Golden List, just to give you an idea.
- I finished the Kourabiethes (Greek cookies) in time to get to bed just before midnight
- My bed is really comfortable and warm and I can lay in it and enjoy for five more minutes
- My alarm clock got me up on time
- My dog, Dexter, did not wake me up with a cold nose before my alarm went off. (yesterday, 5am, cold nose to the inside of my arm)
- English Breakfast Tea (5:45 comes really early when you go to bed at midnight!)
- I get to see my family tomorrow!
- The rest of my cooking will only take about an hour or so, and then I can kick back and relax tonight!
- My new Christmas tree for my bedroom is really pretty. Good decision, if a bit excessive.
- Really awesome friends who make my favorite cake for my birthday. (Yellow cake with chocolate frosting! Yum!)
- The ability to eat said cake for breakfast, if I wanted to. (I was good and had oatmeal, but the thought was nice.)
Like I said, these aren’t huge things, just remembering that there is always something to be grateful for. Even if it is just thinking that there’s cake, and I could have it for breakfast…if I wanted. What are you thankful for today?
So, these are a few of my favorite things (yes, I sang it in my head.) about Thanksgiving. What is your favorite holiday tradition? For that matter, what is your favorite holiday? I did a thing. There’s a poll. It’s just below. You should totally check it out…don’t just read it! You have to answer too!
‘Til next time,