gandle(4 NE)November 15, 2011

We have been invited to Colorado for the day and I would love to go but I know George would rather not travel that 250 miles. Sure we would go out Wednesday and come home Friday but I just know he would go if I say I really want to. Right now just a discussion.

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Something I wrote last year...

Thanksgiving memories '50s and'60s

Mom had seven sisters and brothers each with their own kids. Grandma's house was the go to place for Thanksgiving dinner. The yard was about an acre it seemed and three quarters of it was garden. Corn in the back row, beans and peas, potato hills and squash, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, turnips, onions and much more. Rhubarb and ground cherry bushes were around the front edge. The chicken house was full and eggs were plentiful. All of this bounty went into Ball jars and ended up on the shelves in the root cellar.

We drove from Urbandale to Shell Rock the day before or early that morning. Cherries and apples from our yard were packed and brought along to make pies. Velma, our Mom, Dora, Marlys, Leola, Margaret and Roberta were vying for their spots in the kitchen under the eye of Grandma Lena. It was a very busy kitchen. There would be as many as twenty kids out playing games in the yard while the men watched the football games. Some of us would pick ears of corn and peas right from the garden to munch, mmm so good. Some years we would head to a local pond and fish with our red and white bobbers on bamboo poles.

Grandma had a huge round oak table that could be extended with three center boards. the dining room was the largest room in the house with a coal burning stove. There were two or three card tables set up for the kids and a side board to hold the food dishes that would not fit on the table. Some of us kids were put to work setting the tables. The smells from the kitchen were overwhelming by this time and the men would try to get tastes of favorites as they wandered in to the kitchen for another Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. They could be charming when entering the Women's domain to steel treats.

When we all sat down to eat the conversation would be about what had happened in the last year with each family. We were the furthest away and learning these bits of news was always interesting. The meal would linger for an hour at least or more then the older kids would have the job of cleaning up the table and washing the dishes. Men would retreat to to living room for more football while the women took over the dining room to continue the family news. The latest knitting or needle work was passed around while all the kids lives were reviewed.

Napping was in order for those affected by the triptophan then the local families would return home. we usually stayed over night and left the next morning as the drive was long. Have had and been to a few Thanksgiving days since but none on the scale of the ones I so fondly remember. We make our own memories of special events as we progress through our lives with new friends family and acquaintances. Make the best of your holiday this week and savor the experience. These are the things that matter.

John, Velma, Dora, Marlys, Thomas, Robert, Leola, Jim, Cornelius, Lena Jurgens

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 11:53PM
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Leone you're so kind to think of him. It'd be hard not to go if you really wanted to, but the hesitation could be easily overcome if you love someone enough. And no doubt you two have that kind of love.

Don, you reminded me why Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite memory. It's slower paced with such warm and delights to enjoy. Each of my thanksgiving memories is vastly different. Many of them as grandiose as all get out with all the best china, crystal, and loads of really great friends or family. Mommy would even use the entire set of brass flatware she got while in Thailand. Really cool. Some small and intimate, but just as lovely. Nostalgia colors my day today.

This Thanksgiving I am shying away from all family and friends, secluding myself into my own cocoon. There are many trials going on now, and I just don't want the cacophony of noise and jostling of my nerves. Sometimes, it's really hard to live in a really big family (6 of us children, all having been married and resulting children, and everyone is grown. I get lost in the crowd!!!). It's also the first one I won't see my little fella until Friday, but that really factors in less. I just want to enjoy the day all to myself, selfishly eating all the dark meat turkey (even having a turkey drumstick and gnawing on it!), with all the sides I LOVE, not what everyone else wants (i.e. potato salad instead of mashed potatoes, phooey on that!) and just reveling in the moment to reflect quietly. I'm looking forward to it.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 11:24AM
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delicious delights

and the trials aren't mine. I guess I am being selfish, but I have been so overwhelmed with mine, I'm not quite ready to take on other ones for just a bit. First of the year, I'll jump right back in and help all I can.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 11:28AM
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Thanksgiving is something I enjoy more than Christmas and it looks like for a lot of people the logistics can really be a problem on this day. Leone,hope you work it out so that you both can really enjoy it all. That is a long drive. Rob,since LF won't be with you..I'm glad you are doing what you want to do and cocooning is a good thing sometimes.Don,they could make one of those great simple holiday films from your description of Thanksgiving.I can picture all of it and it brings back memories of my Thanksgivings in Illinois when I was a child. I always have turkey day here and have for over 35 years except once but with chemo I know I'll be sick right up until that Thursday,and then be fine. So we'll be spending the day with my son,DIL and grandson and maybe it's time to pass the torch now.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 11:48AM
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mwoods," and maybe it's time to pass the torch now". That's my thinking.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 7:45PM
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Leone, may your decision and your Thanksgiving be perfect. Same for rob, mwoods, west gardener, and all. Don, thanks for sharing wonderful memories.

Our family is small, just the six of us, and we see each other constantly. Still, Thanksgiving is such a lovely holiday. We have gone the simplicity route after so many decades of whirlwind. Turkey, 1 veggie, nuked sweet potatoes, homemade yeast rolls, 1 dessert - and like it even better because each of those chosen is our favorite. What came before was great, and so is what comes now.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 8:50AM
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For the first time in several years, my sister and her family and I and my family are getting together for Thanksgiving. We assumed it would be "everybody bring something", but my younger niece likes to cook and said she wants to do it all! Good Heavens! We are bringing appetizers, though, and after the meal, we'll do the cleaning up.

Leone, wouldn't it be great if we could snap our fingers--or wriggle our nose, like Samantha the Witch--and be instantly transported to where we want to be? 250 miles isn't really far, but it's a hassle getting to and from, IMHO.

Don, thanks for your Thanksgiving memories; they were heartwarming to read.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 2:17PM
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Thanks for your memories. Except for 2 times, we never had big Thanksgiving Feasts since we always lived away from the extended family and by the time we settled down, the kids were roaming all over the world.
That was the plan for this year also, just my husband and me and a small turkey breast. Sunday a week ago our oldest em-mailed me that he and Diane would come from NH, since it also was his father's birthday, so now we are four, or so I thought. Next calls my younger son that he and his family would come too, so its 3 more. Right now with visitors from Germany and Australia (very extended family members), my DDL's mother and brothers and family (one is a chef), my granddaughter and friend, we are 21.
Turkeys get cooked in 3 different places, I am in the middle of re-arranging the whole house so that we can sleep 7 besides us and I can't wait for the 27th.
If you don't hear from me, you know why, the Australian contingent arrives on Saturday, Germany on Sunday (they leave again on Monday till Thursday at noon) and so on.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 5:40PM
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anneliese, I know that Thanksgiving can be stressful. But it seems to me that you are a wonderful ambassador for a unique American celebration, Thanksgiving. What we need are more people like you who will celebrate this day, internationally.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 7:51PM
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I'm not passing the torch to anyone.
My kids will have to pry it out of my hands if they get it.
I enjoy burning things in the kitchen too much.
Besides, Katrina loves being in charge of the first aid
station and I wouldn't want to disappoint her.

This year promises to be different in more ways than one.
I'm off those drugs that keep me calm and help me hold
my tongue when it needs to be. Lord only knows how that will turn out.

I'm not cooking a turkey dinner this year or making chicken and dressing.
I decided to have a brunch so we can
attend other family dinners.

I'm working on a menu that includes
a baked french toast, quiche, fruit salad, chicken and shrimp in bread baskets.

My siblings and our families are having the traditional
thanksgiving dinner later and I will take a corn casserole
and some other things to that.

If it gets exciting in the kitchen around here. I'll let you know. I did buy some yellow duct tape to put in the
first aid station with instructions for Katrina to use it
if my mouth gets out of control. ;0)

Marda, don't pass that torch, just loan it out til you feel better.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:31PM
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DS is a vegetarian at this time, no turkey, no giblet gravy, no stuffing made with turkey or chicken broth. DD is into a semi vegetarian diet and DGS (dear grandson) who is 5 years old, would rather play than sit around the dinner table. DH and I don't eat heavy meals any longer, so a "traditional", Norman Rockwell, Thanksgiving does not work for us any longer.
We are all getting together for Thanksgiving, but things have changed. Thanksgiving is the same.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:00PM
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gmatx zone 6

Don - thanks for sharing such a wonderful picture and recounting of your Thanksgivings as a youngster. Your writings envoke many, many memories. You and George should put together a book - you both write quite well.

Leone and George - whatever you and George do for Thanksgiving will be perfect for you two. If you do go to Colorado, be sure to have George write about it. That man has a most unique gift of writing.

Rob - peace and comfort to you in your cocooning this Thanksgiving. May it help heal your spirit and soul. I won't say may it make you stronger, because from following your posts over the last few years, I know you are a very strong woman. So, lets just say may you remain as strong and focused as you are now, and may your progress in your goals be tremendous.

Marda - do whatever is best for you; share, keep or pass the "torch" - you will know what the best choice is.

Lindie - your statement of "What came before was great, and so is what comes now" says it all. Sometimes I long for the old days and the traditions that were strictly adhered to, but those thoughts are just thoughts passing through, not staying!

Mwheel - I sure you will enjoy sharing Thanksgiving with your sister again, and your niece wanting to do the cooking makes it even better!

Anneliese - Wow! Now that is truly a Thanksgiving group that is bound to be most exciting. Be sure and share the happenings with us after the holiday.

West_gardener - you are right, "things have changed. Thanksgiving is the same". I vote for playing with the GS instead of cooking!

Janis - as you sometimes say "Lord love a duck" for the yellow duct tape....I can just imagine you appearing with that over your mouth. Maybe I need some. It seems the older I get the more I am like my Mother was as she aged - I pretty much say what I think and sometimes not too tactfully :-). As a matter of fact, I had somewhat of a run-in with the mechanic working (or rather NOT WORKING) on our tractor last Wednesday. My words or facial expressions must have really been stronger than I thought because he told me "don't threaten me" - LOL. I really have a hard time visualizing me being threatening!! At least something I said got him on the ball as the tractor is now almost ready to be picked up after setting at his shop for over 2 month.! I'll apologize when I go pick it up. Be sure to let us know if Katrina has to drag out the first-aid kit. Be sure to turn off the smoke alarms before you start cooking - LOL.

Don't know what we will do for sure. May be just DH and me sharing a smoked turkey breast, dressing, gravy, green beans, rolls, pecan pie (and maybe a coconut cream one), fruit salad and lots of sweet tea. Oldest son and family is going to Dallas area and I'm not really sure what youngest son and his family are going to do - we will eat together if they don't have other plans.

To all of you - may this Thanksgiving be wonderful and blessed. For those traveling, be safe.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:37PM
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Don, I loved reading about your family Thanksgiving.Write more.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 10:35PM
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