I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. The aroma of turkey roasting in the oven filling the house, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the peacefulness--it’s just the four of us; hubby, son, dog and myself. The hubby and I go through the sale ads, our son helps prepare the turkey and get it into the oven, and the Nova waits patiently for her dinner plate. It’s a day to reflect on all the good things in my life and how thankful I am for my family, friends and home.

Thanksgiving wasn’t always this quiet. When the hubby and I were stationed not too far from home, Thanksgiving was a hectic day. We’d start out by going to the hubby’s grandmother’s house. Gram served the meal at 12:30 promptly. Anywhere from fifteen to twenty people sat around her dining room table, passing platters of turkey, bowls of mashed potatoes, two kinds of sweet potatoes, vegetables, gravy, dinner rolls, cranberries and cranberry sauce. Afterward, the men would retire to the television room for football while the women cleaned up. Then it was good old fashioned fun playing poker with family members who saved their nickels, dimes and quarters from last year’s game. (My mother-in-law kept her coins in an old tin Bandaid box.) But the hubby and I didn’t get to play for long. Around 3pm we left Gram’s and headed to my mom’s for another family dinner. Squeezed around the table, we ate more turkey, potatoes, vegetables, rolls, and cranberry sauce. About that time, I thought I would explode. Somehow, I didn’t, though I was tired and feeling more stuffed than the turkeys had been.

We’d visit with my family for awhile, letting our food digest as we talked about anything and nothing. Early evening, we’d go back to Gram’s for dessert. And dessert was four different pies and leftovers from two dinners. Gram always served another dinner at 5pm of kielbasa, ham, salads and leftover turkey. We’d play cards again until I was sure my eyes were being held open by toothpicks and then we’d head back to my mom’s house, where we’d stay for the night. As my brothers and sister and their families had already left for their homes, the hubby would relax in the recliner, and with the house quiet, mom and I would indulge in another piece of pie. Then I’d sleep late the next morning.

While I enjoy the peacefulness of my house today, I do miss the families, the loud conversations and those who have left this world. But I don’t miss eating two dinners in the span of a few hours. To this day, I’m still amazed that Stan and I crammed all that food into our bellies, and didn’t gain 20lbs in the process.