Remembering Thanksgiving Days Past!

Memories of Thanksgiving Days in our past are first about the food… the sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses… think of your family Thanksgiving gatherings…

This morning Face Book popped up this photo ~ Thanksgiving Day, 2014… Billy and the girls had brought dinner to North Tewksbury… the table was set and we enjoyed a delicious home-made dinner… (note Abby’s homemade cranberry sauce and Billy’s perfect gravy)… Thanksgiving was different that year – Ma had died just before Thanksgiving the year before – we gathered to wake and bury her – Thanksgiving was a lost day for me in 2013… our lives changed that day but the memories are vivid and ever with us….

A bountiful plate… 2014

Knowing that my sister Agnes is crumbing bread right now to make Ma’s stuffing has me remembering other Thanksgiving dinners from days passed – well over 60 years of memories…. For years dinner was at Burnham Road then the feast was transferred – literally and figuratively – to Fiske Street…. one year there were three dining tables with 20+ people… even when they became adults there was a “kids” table…

Remembering the starters that my mother served before the turkey and fixings… stuffed celery (stuffed with a cream cheese and Roquefort blend, sprinkled with paprika) / trays of olives, mixed pickles; fruit cocktail w/ sherbet (usually orange); warm, crispy banana fritters w/ real maple syrup and then turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, squash, mashed carrots, green beans, creamed onions, cranberry sauce, hot rolls… cider from Drew’s and the desserts ~ all Ma-made, truly delicious! apple, pumpkin, pecan, banana cream, lemon meringue pies, frosted angel cake, date nut bread, brownies with walnuts and toll house cookies – at Christmas at least 10 different types of cookies… also a small mince pie for Bill. Did I forget anything? God, we were spoiled!

For my sister Agnes Kirwin Owens…. Remember, Ag – Thanksgiving Day always began very early with “the turkey is in the oven” as the opening salutation! How many Thanksgiving mornings of yore did Ma feel that first satisfaction on a day just beginning! Remember those turkeys so big and full of stuffing that Dad or Billy had to lift it into the oven… (later she used her kitchen stool and some crazy maneuver….) Dad peeled the potatoes, carrots, squash – she snapped the green beans… she crumbed that “stale” bread so fine for the stuffing and all that butter!… remember the line-up of pans with the veggies in the back hall? Her desserts of pies, cookies, breads, cake would be lined-up on Billy’s bedroom bureau or even on the bed… did anyone ever make a better turkey gravy and so much? When I’d say Ma you don’t have to keep doing this she say “you better get it while you can, you’ll be sorry when I can’t do it any more”… Oh, how right she was! Sad and sorry and grateful and remembering! Rest in peace, Ma and Dad and Jimmy and Tom….