Memories of Thanksgivings Past

“If you think you are enlightened; go home for Thanksgiving.”
― Ram Dass

Yes, indeed.   Thanksgiving was always a time for tyranny in my household.   My father insisted on cooking a turkey which he would lovingly baste and gaze at with admiration.  When the turkey was all skin and bones he would delicately, using tools, tweezers, pliers, etc. separate every edible ort from the bone and then make his patented Turkey Soup.   My mother thought that turkey was vulgar and that Thanksgiving was a plot to keep the children home from school.   It was not easy to be a child when a holiday beloved by so many became a battle of the wills.

This is marriage.  Two people come from two backgrounds and for my father it’s a time of family and food and decency.  For my mother, it’s a reminder of the poverty and deprivations of her childhood (her missing father had divorced her mother a few years before she was born and she was the product of a sentimental, soppy, single-malt scotch visit).

The result was a stubborn refusal to back down.   My father’s argument, that my mother could ignore the turkey, was refuted by her insistence that the reek of turkey permeated the house.  He made all the “fixings”–dressing, mashed potatoes, some form of something  green–about one serving of that for the 8 of us–and tinned cranberry sauce.  My brother and one sister claimed the drumsticks.  The little ones got themselves into a mashed potato carbohydrate stupour.  And I was besotted with cranberry sauce.   I privately believed that Thanksgiving was justly a celebration of the cranberry.


Those gloomy Thanksgivings were vitiated by the Cranberry.

I always tried to be bright and cheerful on Thanksgiving and cooked for days.   No soup—never any turkey soup–but lots of variations on the cranberry and its presentation.

I can go home for Thanksgiving via the auspices of memory, but I prefer the Thanksgivings of today–minimalist; no trauma; and I still always have at least 3 or 4 cranberry options.

I am grateful that the space between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be briefer than usual this year.

I wish you an abundance of what you love and an ability to avoid those tension-filled items.


Author: Gubbinal

Bookish, tea-drinking cat-lady who loves great poetry and music and is in the midst of dying

One thought on “Memories of Thanksgivings Past”

  1. I didn’t even bother with turkey this year–had a soy burger and broccoli with cheese. I wanted to grill with my new grill but was too ill. Thanksgiving can be great, but it can also be stressful as people try so damned hard to make it perfect. Like you, I like that there’s more options for Thanksgiving as far as food and the general atmosphere.

    At least I haven’t read any stories of the family members who drive in for Thanksgiving dinner only to sit on their phones and not talk to anybody the whole time. I bet last year they got screamed at so they knew better or just uninvited (I hated how last year and the year before seemed to have dozens of stories like that).


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