Sunday, November 22, 2015

One Thanksgiving Remembered

I'm taking a little walk down Memory Lane. It's 18 years ago. It's before Leo passed away, and before any of my darling grandchildren are born. That year we gathered at my home in Totowa, NJ. This Thanksgiving Day we will gather at Kristin & Randy's lovely home in Manasquan. Some of the faces around the table will be different than they were back in 1997, but the family warmth, the giggles, the stories, the over-full tummies and the abundance of God's blessings to us remain very much the same. We are a blessed family, indeed! Thank You, Jesus!

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all...

Photo Credit:


Leo and I hosted Thanksgiving this year at our home in Totowa
in our compact dining room, which we made smaller
through poor planning of our home renovations
(We recently bought a smaller dining room table
and smaller, armless chairs to provide a bit more room
to maneuver, which is a huge help!)

Actually, this turned out to be one of our smoothest running feasts
attributable in part, no doubt, to years of experience
but even more attributable to good cooperation by all
I took a vacation day the day before
and got an early start house cleaning, then began
simmering cranberries and marinating mushrooms
Beth came in the evening. She peeled potatoes, stuffed dates
and worked on a new recipe, onions braised in honey and wine
Kristin arrived early Thanksgiving Day
and created a superb antipasto masterpiece

The night before my sister and Carrie spent making desserts
They baked pumpkin, apple and chocolate cream pies
and made a pumpkin bread, besides
I think they told the truth when they said
Uncle Ricky baked the chocolate pecan pie himself, but
I wouldn’t bet money on it. It was awesome! Awesome!
Carol said she stayed up until 2 a.m. keeping watch
over the hot pies cooling on their back deck
to make sure raccoons didn’t dive into our holiday goodies!

The escarole soup, the turkey and all the veggies were
(wonder of wonders!) ready on schedule
Rick, carved the bird and opened the wine
(once we found a corkscrew)
Leo led the blessing and we each
mentioned something we were specifically thankful for
then all partook (of more than we should have!) of course

Leo stationed himself at the sink (What a guy!)
and in between courses, Evert suggested
playing board games in the living room
There was Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble
I had to break a deadlock between my daughters
over whether hyphenated words are allowed
which we determined are not
since there are no Scrabble hyphen tiles. Sorry, Kristin!

Richie and Carrie are old enough now to fully take part
so there was much giggling, chatter and good natured teasing
Everyone took turns clearing away plates
The girls helped put up the leftovers
(and made packages to take home)
Carol carved the rest of the meat off the turkey...bless her heart!

Later, I brought out the old family photo albums
and we squeezed around the dining room table
trying to figure out who was who, especially
in the black and white photos from the 20’s and 30’s!

Aunt Carol Harris called from Florida to say she loved everyone
Frank called twice (We missed our brother.
He was with Ana’s family, at an even bigger feast for thirty!)
We sent and received e-mails from Leo’s daughters in North Carolina
and warm thoughts sailed across the miles and sea
to his sons in Florida and Germany
We also thought about Kevin in Amsterdam
who celebrated his Thanksgiving alone at a Burger King
and Michael in California and Donna and her family
(who we hoped would join us, at least for dessert)
She was spending the holiday with family in Pennsylvania

We wished everyone could have been with us
crowded into our cozy house around our dining and kitchen tables
but those were impossible wishes...                                                   
nevertheless, we were wonderfully full and very happy
and supremely thankful for all our blessings—

Maude Carolan


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