Although I have many wonderful Thanksgiving memories over the years, I have one that stands out.
It was a sunny day in the mountains. We made the decision to stay home-alone for Thanksgiving for the first time since our move to the mountains. Usually, our holiday had consisted of a three-hour drive to the Bay Area and the three-hour trek back on the same day. Sometimes, we went to a relative’s house, other times we’d end up in a restaurant with family. There was always traffic increasing our traveling time or when we’d run into the dreaded fog. But, we felt it was worth it to spend time with loved ones. Then, there’d be occasions when people would come to our house, too. We’d spend our time entertaining and visiting them, then I’d collapse on the couch at the end of the day in exhaustion. This year, for many different reasons, we stayed home and had no guests. It was a first for our family of five.
I arose that beautiful November morning and got the 20-pound turkey in the oven. I turned on the Macy’s Day Parade and drank a cup of tea, while the rest of the family woke up. Then we ate a breakfast of pumpkin pancakes, bacon, eggs and freshly squeezed orange juice and cheered-on our favorite floats and balloons. We fantasized how it would be to have a hotel room along the parade-route watching this in person and to see New York during the Christmas season. Then came the excitement of Santa Clause’s appearance, signaling the end of the parade.
While our stuffed turkey continued to cook, it was time to get dressed. My family was done way before me. So, my husband took the kids outside to ride their bikes. My two pre-teen girls were on their mountain bikes, while my pre-school son was on his Big-Wheel. I slipped into my dress that would match my daughters and applied my make-up. Searching through my drawer I found the one pair of nylons that wasn’t snagged. Wearing my best jewelry and my slippers I was ready. I stepped out of the kitchen, filled with the smell of turkey, into a beautiful fall day. I was greeted by my children all lined up behind my husband, who was in his white dress shirt, black slacks and suspenders. They went by oldest to youngest, with my son at the end wearing his favorite train conductor hat riding through the forest.
I quickly grabbed my camera and recorded this pure moment. Smiles lit everyone’s face, including mine, while laughter was layered into the air. All was right in our world. I grabbed my bike and joined the fun.
It was a day when there were no schedules to honor, no traveling, or guests to entertain–it was just us enjoying us. That day still brings me joy many years later. I don’t remember if the turkey was moist or the pies were perfectly seasoned with a tender crust. What I do remember is we ate together and then played a family favorite “The Disneyland Game”. Who won? Didn’t matter then nor now. It was a time of innocence and love. A time of laughter and joy that is etched forever in my mind as the perfect Thanksgiving Day that still exists in that magical place where memories dwell.
This year we are spending Thanksgiving with our oldest grand kids, and son who is making the trek from college. Our Thanksgiving tree is up, so whoever enters our house can write something they are grateful for on the “tree leaves”. Later, we’ll be visited by one of my daughters and her husband who’ll be eating their second meal. The rest of the family has their own places to be, but they will be in our hearts forever and in our memories. My hope for the day is, that maybe, just maybe, we can create some more magic to remember in the years to come, that will compare to that day in the sun so many holidays ago.
*I could only find one picture from that happy day. It is of my husband riding his bike, but the kids weren’t in the picture. The other picture is our current Thanksgiving tree. The leaves underneath are from years past.
The monthly newsletter goes out tomorrow.
I won’t have a post on 25th because of the holiday, but will be back on the 2nd.
Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating it! Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn