I have such wonderful, childhood memories of Thanksgiving Day. My mother, who enjoyed every holiday, had us anticipating Thanksgiving Day for weeks! The second week of November started seeing changes in the décor of our home. Bouquets of strawflowers mixed with herbs and holly berries were placed in every room. An arrangement of colorful Indian corn replaced the ivy wreath on the front door. When we caught the scent of bayberry candles burning, we knew the holiday preparations were about to begin.
The house would get a super cleaning from top to bottom. Windows were sparkling. Flannel sheets replaced the cotton ones on the beds. The wood floors glowed with lemon-scented polish. Finally the house was ready … and now the food prep began.
My mother had her signature Thanksgiving dishes and we would have been sorely disappointed if even ONE of them was left out. First the desserts were made: mom’s delicious Upside-down Pineapple Cake, great-grandmother's Apple Crunch, and the purchase of Mrs. Smith’s Pumpkin Pies. (If you are from the Pottstown area, you know you couldn’t bake a better pumpkin pie!)
Next came the making of cranberry salad. We all helped turn the handle of the old-fashioned grinder as we went through bags of cranberries and oranges. Oh, what a wonderful fragrance!
Mom had the turkey in the oven VERY early in the morning, stuffed with her mouth-watering oyster dressing. Somehow she always managed to perfectly orchestrate the completion of candied sweet potatoes, green bean and mushroom casserole, and steamed asparagus EXACTLY when the turkey was ready and carved.
We spent hours at our Thanksgiving table: eating, laughing, and telling the same old holiday stories. After we all helped with the clean-up, we draped ourselves around the living room to recover from the huge meal. There was book reading, classic black and white holiday movies on TV, and yes, snoring from Dad on the sofa.
By 7:00 that evening, we were (unbelievably) ready for open face, hot turkey sandwiches and leftovers. I remember looking around the evening table every year and feeling so very, very thankful. We were safe, we were warm, and we were loved.
This Thanksgiving, please look around your table and be grateful for the people in your life and the bounty you are enjoying.
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