Sunday, November 4, 2007
So, since I love to share Christmas memories, I thought I would share a few Thanksgiving ones as well. Since technically it's the next holiday and truly I do love it. It's not something I wish to skip over. It's just that the Christmas spirit in me tends to prevail and I get all giddy with anticipation!
Anyhoo, back to Thanksgiving. We always spent Thanksgiving with my mom's family. For as far back as I can remember, we ate dinner at my mom's baby sister's (Aunt Cathy.) My mom also has an older brother (Jim) and a younger brother (Don, who sadly is no longer with us.) The same thing happened every year and if you've noticed anything about me, that's how I like it! My mom would bake pumpkin pies the night before. The best ever. Still to this day, I can't bake a pie like my mom. We would watch the Macy's Parade because you HAVE to see Santa make his way down the parade route and then leave for Aunt Cathy's. Now my brother is 11 years older than me. So, often he would pick up my grandparents and take them to my aunt's since we couldn't all fit in one car. Remember there were no minivans back then. Anyway, I would often ride with him. WDVE is the rock station of out Pittsburgh. And every Thanksgiving day at 12:00 they play Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie. We would pick up my grandparents and listen to that all the way to Aunt Cathy's. It's a pretty long song. So it would last the whole trip. My grandmother loved it! That is such a vivid memory for me. And it makes me smile.
We always had the same appetizers before the big dinner. Cheese and pepperoni, crackers, 2-olive cheese ball, shrimp cocktail and Creamsicle Punch (made with rum, Galliano, Grenadine, 7-up, orange juice concentrate and ice cream!) When I got to be a little older, maybe 16, I would bring sausage balls. Truth be told, when I was in my early twenties I would go over to Aunt Cathy's the night before to help her in the morning. See, my Uncle Russ had passed away in 1990 from cancer and her boys were too little to help then. The punch was always the biggest hit and my grandmother, God bless her, enjoyed it a little more each year.
What's Thanksgiving without football and a friendly game of chance?? The men would all congregate downstairs to watch the game, along with Aunt Cathy. She was as bad as them. Every year they would make a run to play a few numbers too. As if betting on the games wasn't enough, HA! I can remember my dad asking me to give him a 3 digit number one time. Back then I was obsessed with the number 7 and I gave him 7-7-7. It just happened to be my aunt's house number. So they all played it that year. But I can't remember if they hit or not.
My cousin Stacy (Uncle Don's youngest) and my cousin Jodi (Uncle Jim's youngest) and I are close in age. And we used to have a BALL on Thanksgiving. I remember one particular Thanksgiving where we were horsing around and got to playing something I would kick my sons' butts for doing. See, Aunt Cathy and Uncle Russ couldn't have kids for the longest time. As a matter of fact, they adopted both of their children. But anyway, they had this spare room. And in that room was a bed and a dresser and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff. A big fat purple stuffed pig that we sat on. My aunt's doll 'Chatty Cathy' from her childhood. This little platform thing that sat on the ground and you stood on it and twisted. It was some kind of exercise tool, I guess. And these long rope things, for exercising, that you attached to the door handle somehow. That room was a veritable haven of goodies to mess with and get into. There was also a pair of crutches. So we decide that it would be fun to stand on the dresser and, using the crutches, hurl ourselves onto the bed. We were flying through the air and thought nothing wrong with it. I remember the one year Stacy grabbed the blinds in her catapult and pulled them down. HA HA HA!! I am laughing so hard right now, reliving this memory. We just stuffed the blinds behind the dresser as if no one would ever know. Like they would come into that room and think, Gee...I guess we didn't put blinds up in this room. HAHAHAHA!! I'm howling right now.
But as the family continued to grow and the grandkids became parents themselves, more and more people had other families that they had to fit into the equation. And after my grandmother passed away in 2002 the dinner at Aunt Cathy's had broken up. But those memories of childhood Thanksgivings will live forever in my heart.
Blessing for the day: I'm blessed to have such warm memories of family and holidays!