This is the time of year that I feel like a little kid all over again. I have so many sweet memories of Thanksgiving at Gramma Dinwoodie’s with all the aunts, uncles and cousins – the dining/living room so crowded with people and the extended table, you couldn’t move an inch. The family was loud, the food smelled wonderful and as a child, all I had to do was show up to the feast.
Several of us kids would have to duck beneath the table to get to the sofa on the other side in order to take our place. No one cared that we knocked elbows or could barely hear each other over the din. In the small house Grampa built using the lumber from another house he’d torn down, we celebrated our very own Norman Rockwell and Currier and Ives moments.
No, our table wasn’t beautifully set with matching crystal, silver or candles. An open flame in the middle of this crowd could spell disaster. And the turkey never made it to the table beautifully browned and decorated with parsley and kumquats. It was sliced in the kitchen, loaded on platters and set on the table for passing and fast self-service.
After the feast, when the table had been cleared, we would sit around the fruit bowl, each of us swathed in a turkey torpor, cracking mixed nuts or slicing through the tough skin of a pomegranate to suck on the juicy membrane around the seeds. We didn’t have an internet to tell us how to slice and eat a pomegranate without making a mess, but we had fun – mostly because it was the only day of the year we had a pomegranate at our disposal.
My Thanksgivings are still celebrated with family, but it’s not the huge gathering it once was. Now I’m one of the aunts and there aren’t as many little ones underfoot. But the love and the fun and the fellowship is still part of the celebration. There’s still no expensive crystal and the turkey continues to be carved in the kitchen, but I don’t have to climb beneath the table to find my place and there are lovely place cards at each setting and appetizers to enjoy.
So many happy memories, and all of them have melded with, and some how become attached to, the happiness depicted in Norman Rockwell’s painting and modern media’s idea of a perfect Thanksgiving. I see beautiful holiday pictures in home decorating magazines and immediately feel that warm rush of recognition. My real-life experience jumbles with the ideal depicted on the page to create a fantasy Thanksgiving that, though I may never fully live it, serves to enhance the homey, down-to-earth imperfect perfection of my real-life holiday which is truly a time of thanksgiving.
If you want to see bits of a fantasy Thanksgiving mingled with the reality , hop over to my board at Pinterest and take a peek.