Thursday, November 26, 2020

Making Thanksgiving Memories

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the United States celebrating and to those outside the US, I hope your day is going well. Has it been a quiet day for any of you? Or has it been an eventful day with family and food and football and lots of noise? It is a very different Thanksgiving this year for many of us to say the least. While we did celebrate with a traditional turkey and all the fixings, we definitely had a more quiet thanksgiving than usual. About 10 days before Thanksgiving our state was issued a new Covid-19 executive order. Restaurants, bars and fitness centers have closed down for at least 4 weeks. And there is a mandate to prohibit gatherings of more than one household. Covid has been ramping up here in Minnesota. It took 6 months for the first 100,000 positive new cases originally. But it has only taken 42 days to add another 100,000 new cases. 

These new mandates had left many in a quandary regarding what to do for Thanksgiving. Do you comply and not allow anyone in and scale way down the cooking and prepping? Do you ignore the mandate that’s trying to keep the hospitalizations down and carry on as usual as in past years? Or do you find a safe happy medium that may still not be in compliance with the mandate, but hopefully will be a safe alternative? 2020 just keeps on being a whirlwind of trying to make sense of all the craziness going on. And this is just one more layer of icing on that 2020 cake. Thanksgiving in the past was never a life or death decision, it pretty much just amounted to figuring out what everyone would be bringing to eat and my mom’s reminder to my dad to not discuss politics with my uncle..

When I was a kid, we always had Thanksgiving at my grandma and grandpa’s house. There were their 3 kids and spouses and then us 13 grandkids scattered throughout the families. We had food beyond anyone’s imagination, turkey, homemade stuffing, corn pudding, gravy, side dishes of vegetables, squash, and pies. Several types of pies, and cookies in the shape of a turkey that my aunt would haul in by the gallon ice cream pails. To this day we all remember the turkey cookies. 

As the years went on and we grew up and had families of our own the numbers multiplied, but, we continued to go to my grandma’s. My grandpa had passed away several years before my grandma. As time went on, there were several friends from various family members with nowhere to go for Thanksgiving, they would wind up with an invitation from Grandma to come ot her house for the day. She never wanted anyone alone on a holiday and she would open her house up to our friends with no family in town. Her last Thanksgiving, there were 63 people in that small house! There were tables on her enclosed back porch, her front porch and every room in the house. We all had a place to sit and for the first time, there really wasn't an official designated “kid’s table”.The younger ones just sat in groups on the floor or wherever they could find a spot.  There were tables everywhere! And there was food, so much food and yet still leftovers for people to take home and enjoy the next day. My grandma welcomed all to her table. We would bless the food (in every denomination’s prayer that was represented. One year I think we had 5 different prayers) and then sit down for hours of eating, visiting, nibbling on desserts, putting away leftovers...and hauling them out to eat again before everyone started making their journey home. You never left my grandma’s house with an empty stomach. It was more like a ready to explode belly full of incredible food and treats.

Grandma has been gone for a long while. All of us that used to go there now have our own generations of families to share the holidays with together. And I do believe through the years we all have taken many of those traditions from grandpa and grandma’s house and thrown them into our own Thanksgiving traditions. There’s even some that still serve up the turkey cookies.

Whatever your day has looked like, I hope it was one that will be put in the memory bank of your mind to pull out in the years to come. Memories to think back on. Hopefully a day of giving thanks, however different it has been this year. Whether it was a great day with family, a quiet day with maybe zoom or skyping family not with you, or somewhere in between, just know today you were making memories that will carry on through the generations. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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