I feel bad for Thanksgiving.
It’s stuck in the middle of Halloween and Christmas, which are definitely more exciting holidays.
And in the past few years, it’s been edged out by Black Friday.
Thanksgiving, though, remains a favorite day for me. My heart holds many fond memories of Thanksgivings past.
Growing up, my parents and I went out to dinner for Thanksgiving.
Mom was a good cook, but cooking was not one of her favorite activities. So we ate out for Thanksgiving and she cooked Christmas dinner.
My parents had two favorite restaurants – the Old Grist Mill in Seekonk, Massachusetts, and the Wharf Tavern in Warren, Rhode Island.
Mom and Dad had gone to the Grist Mill for years before I came along, and I have vague memories of meals there as a very young child.
There is nothing vague, however, about my memories of the dessert– the ice cream clown, an upside down ice cream cone with a face made out of nuts.
Some things have not changed. I planned my meal around dessert then, and I still do!
We went to the Wharf Tavern a lot as I got older, often bringing Grandpa with us.
My dad and his father had been estranged for many years, but with some “matchmaking” by his younger sister, they made peace when I was a pre-teen.
I was thrilled to have a grandparent like my friends, but going out to dinner with him was a challenge for a blossoming teen. He flirted outrageously with the waitresses and embarrassed me no end.
Christmas dinner just couldn’t come fast enough!
Thanksgiving when I was in high school meant two things: football and food, and in that order.
Every Thanksgiving Day was THE BIG game, when all the local high school football rivalries unfolded. Kick-off was around 10 am, so there was plenty of time for THE BIG dinner later on.
My team, the Case High Cardinals, played our arch-rivals, the Somerset High Raiders.
We were hopelessly out of our league.
My sophomore year, Case had lost every game they had played and Somerset had won every game they had played. It was not looking good for the home team.
It looked even worse by the end of the third quarter of that Thanksgiving game, when we down by more points than people have fingers and toes.
But then the Thanksgiving miracle occurred. Somerset, smelling victory, sent in their third stringers. Case, smelling yet another defeat, suddenly found their feet and their throwing arms.
The Cardinals went on to win their only game of the season, 32-28. That score became the cheerleaders’ battle cry the following year.
It didn’t work.
The years flew by and before I knew it, Bob and I were married and hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Lisa and Mark would come up from Virginia for the week, and Mom and Dad would come over for dinner. I loved entertaining my growing family.
Bob cooked the turkey on the wood stove and I scoured cookbooks and magazines for the perfect decorations, side dishes, and desserts.
One year, I copied a table decoration idea from a Harlequin romance I’d read. I carved out the core in apples, added candles, and had my centerpiece.
Bob couldn’t understand why I had “wasted perfectly fine apples.”
Dad always made a beeline to the sideboard to scope out the dessert choices as soon as he took off his coat. So he would know how to pace himself, he would say.
Like father, like daughter, always planning ahead.
I will never forget the year we celebrated with snow on the ground. The weather forecasters had predicted snow flurries and we all went to bed without a second thought.
I woke everyone up the next morning with a scream.
For as far as I could see, the world was white. There was no front lawn, no stone wall, no Hixbridge Road. Just snow and more snow.
I wanted to postpone dinner, but Mom insisted on waiting to see if the roads were cleared in time. We moved dinner time to 4 pm.
The snow had stopped by this time, and the snowplows were out in force. Our Thanksgiving dinner went off as planned.
Since then, though, I have never slept well when I hear a weather forecaster say, “Just flurries
The arrival of grandchildren and Bob’s and my move to Virginia changed our Thanksgiving celebrations but every year, I count my memories of Thanksgivings past as one of my many blessings.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Share it with other Sunny Side readers in the comments below.
Thanks for spending time with me on the sunny side of life.