Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories


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!


Alice said...

Woohoo that punch sounds good! You have such sweet and funny memories of your Thanksgivings. My cousins and I always played in my grandmother's "junk room." We never torn down blinds but we broke a vase once and hid it.

Cottage by the River said...

Julie- You tell the best stories.
Sounds like a great day to always remember!!


Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

Hi Julie,

I loved this post! I can just imagine you jumping off that dresser! What fun, but yes I am with you, I'd pinch my boys' heads off for it! LOL


Anita said...

Love your stories!

Our family Thanksgiving broke up when my granparents died in a car wreck - my mom and her brother only got their families together for the sake of their parents... I never even see that side of the family anymore, even though my aunt and uncle live just 7 miles south of town... said...

I love coming here... your stories are filled with both laughter and lifes lessons...

I never knew my grandparents...Both sides passed while I was too young to even know them... however our traditional family thanksgiving really ended when both my parents passed... my mom first ...we tried to keep it together until my dad died three years later...but it was never the we dont even get together even though we live close by...

A harsh reality...however I now make my own memories....and traditions with my children...


And thanks for the funny made my day!!


Anonymous said...

Such wonderful memories and you bring it all back to life, Julie. :)

lori said...

You know I have to THANK YOU for always leaving such wonderful comments to me! YOU make my day!!

When I read that stuff about the Jesus prayer, I thought, HA, been saying that ALL my life and never knew!:)

I love your stories about the holidays...since we moved so much
I LOVE creating traditions with my family! I want to be the gram who bakes the PIES!! I remember going to my grams, she lived on the South Side of the Burgh and we LOVED the attic...and at Thanksgiving...the Christmas presents were always HIDDEN up there, if we were lucky, we could catch a glimpse!;)
You made me nostalgic today!
I hope you write this stuff down too...
it will all be in your memoirs!:)
have a wonderful Sunday Julie~

Rosemary said...

Sounds like great times!!
Thanks for sharing your family with us.

Emiline said...

I'm so happy! I was hoping you would share a Thanksgiving story.
I always would watch the Macy's parade, too. Actually, I still like to have it on in the background.
The punch sounds really good. Isn't Galliano expensive? I've never had it before.
I can't believe you did that with the crutches! So dangerous....but so funny! When we're children, we think of the most interesting things to do. Things that don't make any sense. What happens to that?
Our family Christmas was like your Thanksgiving. When grandpa died, it broke up. But we too are thankful for the memories.

Kimmie said...

Glad you have such nice family memories to cherish.

I see you got your Christmas countdown back up, so glad you won't be worried about it anymore!

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awsome time! What great memories you have.

joan said...

Love hearing your memories! Hey, your Christmas banner is back up and running. Good for you!

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

What fun memories!!

Dolly said...

Ahhh memories...the one thing no one can take away from us!

Loved the story!

Hugz, Dolly

Flea Market Queen said...

I LOVE your stories...

Meggie said...

Isn't Thanksgiving the best?! I loved your story. My brothers used to "fly around" the bedroom and one of them ended up with stiches in his head because of a collision with the dresser. Great memories.......

Anonymous said...

Great stories. Always puts a smile on my fact. Look forward to my next visit.

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

ROFL!!!! Like nobody would notice the blinds missing!!!??? That is too funny! I love your stories, Julie - keep them going!!! xo, Becky

Heidi said...

Wonderful memories! I am glad you are pausing to think of your old Thanksgivings. I too rush the Christmas season, well being an elf, I would do that! I agree that as our families change and grow these get togethers become a thing of the past. If you keep this all in mind this mind and keep the feelings you brought out by writing this, you are in for the best Thanksgiving ever this year.

~~ Heidi ~~

bj said...

Just stopped back by, read your Thanksgiving memories, laughed with you over the blinds and enjoyed the entire story line.
Thanks for adding me to your blog list...I just added you to mine.
I'll be back......

Michelle E. ~ Vintage Pastiche' said...

I just love when you share your memories. I know I can always come here and get a smile. :)


Cris said...

Oh Julie, the blessings for the day are a great idea! Love the way you describe your childhoold memories, oh my so much yummy food!

chocolate girl said...

i truly love is my favorite holiday. i love that it is the one day we truly focus on 'thank you'.

such a simple pleasure...such a privilege.

hugs to you!

Kari & Kijsa said... have such wonderful memories....and now you are creating memories for the next generation!

Have a very blessed day!

kari and kijsa

justabeachkat said...

What sweet memories Julie of your loving family. You are truly blessed.


Blogger said...

Sprinter - DarKz (170BPM)