Thanksgiving memories? We have a million of them.
Way back when our eight children were a lot younger than they are now, thawing out the Thanksgiving turkey was a real challenge because there wasn’t room in the refrigerator for it, and there was always at least one pet cat waiting to devour it. Our solution was to lock the cat up somewhere because we knew the bird wouldn’t move.
The 5-year-old was usually the one to cast a critical eye on our proposed dinner entrée. Then we’d have to answer the culinary questions about how much it weighed, how long it would cook, and who got the drumsticks.
One year as the eight-member audience looked on, Bill pulled out the bag of giblets. “What’s that? The 5-year-old asked
“The giblets,” I answered.
He still looked puzzled.
“The heart, liver, and gizzard,” I explained.
Looking very concerned, he gulped and rubbed his chest. Reading his look, an older brother explained, “Yours aren’t in a bag. They’re spread out all over in you.”
He looked even more alarmed, so big sister got the encyclopedia and showed him the pictures of a human body. Then he was really worried. “Oh, yuck! You mean that’s how I’d look without my skin?”
I could empathize with that. One time a nutritionist showed me a fist-sized gob of an ugly green gelatinous substance. She explained, “This is what a pound of body fat looks like.” I said a prayer of thanks that my pounds were covered by skin.
Way back when our children were little, the kindergarten art lesson for November was brown finger paint and turkeys. By Thanksgiving the brown smears actually were identifiable as turkeys. One time there was a pencil shaped object protruding from the turkey’s neck.
When asked what it was, the little artist answered, That’s the tranquilizer dart.” And as he pointed to a larger form in the lower corner he added, “That’s the gun they shoot him with.” Violence was rampant on TV even then.
Our children are all grown and gone now, so Thanksgiving Day begins more quietly. Bill and I get up early and put the water on to boil for coffee and tea. Then as he prepares the biggest bird we could buy, I prepare the stuffing.
As soon as we have the turkey in the oven, we relax in peace and quiet with our beverage and the newspaper. Then we share the various cooking chores until the family begins to arrive. We do the dinner; they bring the desserts.
As soon as we send dinners out to shut-in friends, the feast is set on the dining room table, and Moms fill plates for the smaller children who gather around the folding table with the older children who filled their own plates. Then the adults sit at the main table or wherever they choose. Someone offers the prayer and then the feast begins.
Sometime after dinner the grandkids remind me we have to take our walk. Then the adults, who want to avoid cleaning up the mess, and I round up the kids and head for the creek. We chuck rocks down the hill into the water. Usually the happiest rock chucker is the littlest one who heaves with all his or her might and yells, “Splash!” as the chosen rock lands in the grass a few inches away, and all the cousins clap and yell congratulations and encouragement.
Then we follow the railroad tracks for awhile and investigate any train cars there. Finally we climb back up the hill and head home down the sidewalk or through the alley, frequently with the biggest kids carrying the little ones. Before they reenter the house they download whatever they’ve collected into their own family vehicle.
Finally we settle down in the house and “remember when…” and count our blessings.
Author’s Note: This column was first published in the Daily Advocate Nov. 27, 1996.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.