Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday - even as a little girl. I always thought Valentines day was silly for kids to celebrate - I thought it should just be for "Mommys and Daddys" (funny how kids think, huh?). The Easter Bunny scared me. Halloween was okay, I didn't like talking to strangers and I don't like spiders. 4th of July was great, except for all those darn mosquitoes that always bit me! My birthday was fun. Christmas was nice, I liked decorating, looking at the Christmas tree and of course getting presents, but I never really looked forward to it.

But Thanksgiving, now that was the best. I loved being surrounded by family and close friends. We got to all just hang out, watch movies, play board games, and just generally enjoy one another. The leaves falling outside and all the decorative pumpkins were so beautiful to look at. The food included all my favorite dishes. And the message was something that I could completely understand and get into - being thankful.

I loved Thanksgiving so much that I tried to make it come twice a year.

Growing up, I used to spend my summers in a tiny town in Minnesota with my Grandparents and Father. Every year, my Grandmother would ask me what I wanted her to make for dinner on my birthday. She said she would make anything that I wanted. Every year, I said the same thing - Thanksgiving food! It's only now, looking back, that I realize just what my poor Grandmother went through just to give me that wonderful meal.

When people think of Minnesota, they mostly think of snow and the super cold winters. Well, you may not realize it, but Minnesota also gets VERY HOT in the summer! It gets majorly humid, hot and muggy ... and there was no central air in my Grandparents house. The only refuge from the heat those summers was to either hide in the underground basement, or to sit out on the screened-in deck with a fan directly on you, being perfectly still. I can only imagine how hard it was for my poor Grandmother to get in front of the oven to bake a turkey for hours and cook a whole huge meal ... just for me. She would gather all my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins and make us all a huge meal that included all my favorites - turkey, mashed potatoes, LOTS of gravy, green beans, lettuce salad and we'd all have birthday cake for dessert. As a child, I really liked and enjoyed the meal and this time together, but as an adult, I am humbled, amazed and especially thankful.

My Grandmother is no longer with us, but I always think of her on my birthday and at Thanksgiving. In my mind, I still can clearly see her standing in front of the oven, sweating way and the stove covered with her beloved cast iron pans and littered with bits of food, gravy and grease.

I also think of year that my stepbrother and his family came up to my Moms house for Thanksgiving - my sister-in-laws stuffing is still the best that I've ever had. I remember the year that my first niece was born - arriving early, just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family. I think of the year that I had Thanksgiving at my house - and made nearly everything from scratch.

I look forward to this year, with my newest little niece and making new, GDSYWP-free, dishes that are sure to become new favorites.

Thanksgiving has always been special to me, and will continue to remain so. It's about all the things that I find wonderful about this world - family, friends, food, kindness, sharing and appreciation.



I'm saddened that Thanksgiving has been squeezed out this year in favor of the store-and-consumer-friendly Christmas season. It seems like Christmas just keeps coming earlier and earlier every year, but even more so this year. Around where I live, Christmas stuff has been out since Halloween - completely skipping one of the most genuine and uniquely-American holidays. I could write on and on here about this subject, but I want to focus on the joys of this occasion besides, I think Andy Rooney summed it up quite nicely on his own.



Please take the time to really enjoy this holiday - to enjoy our food, one another and to be truly grateful for all that we have. I hope that everyone has a beautiful, memorable, wonderful and deliciously safe Thanksgiving.

 

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