Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nine Special Thanksgiving Memories

As I mentioned earlier in the month, the topic for the blog chain for which I participate monthly is simply “nine.” The other writers have evolved this into memories of being nine but more popularly it has been a list of nine things that had special meaning for the writers. So I will be following suit now with my own neuf / nueve / neun / negen / nove/ nio/ nouâ /nevn / devynì chart.

Being so close to Thanksgiving, I thought it would use it as a great tie in by telling my nine favorite turkey day memories. These are broken down in time frames of remembrances. The first would be having Thanksgiving dinner with my mom’s family. This was a big event with all the cousins, aunts and uncles and of course my grandparents. What I remember most about going there was the fact that there was a candy dish on the coffee table that was always filled with M & M’s. We were even allowed to have a few before the big dinner. In later years when my grandparents were sizing down and giving away there possessions, the candy dish is one of the things I requested as it would always remind me of those great holiday memories.

The next favorite Thanksgiving memory would be going to my grandmother’s house on my father’s side. This was always after the big dinner and we would all pile into the car and head out. There we would have dessert. But it wasn’t the food that I remember it was being able to play with typeset from the print shop where dad’s family worked below where they lived. None of the presses would be running that day but the smell of the presses still hung in the air. We could spell out words in blocks and build walls with the type font and spacers or make buildings. Whenever I smell printing press ink, I will always remember my time at play in that shop.

When I made my first turkey dinner all by me at age 14, it wasn’t Thanksgiving but I felt like it was. My mom had let me take over all the details of planning and cooking the meal. Although I had helped with cooking in bits and pieces growing up, it wasn’t until I started high school and took “home ec” cooking classes that I really fell in love with food preparation. At that point I thought the ideal career would be working in a food manufacturers test kitchen creating new dishes. Today I love watching the cooking shows on TV and wonder what it would be doing that for a living.

My first drive back home of 500 miles from my freshman year in college would be my next favorite memory of a Thanksgiving. Eating at the campus cafeteria or throwing something in the mini microwave that I had in the dorm room didn’t cut it for me. I couldn’t wait to have real home-cooked food. That year being with family was especially memorable as it was the first time in my life I had been away from home for more than a week.

Once I got married and we had our first Thanksgiving dinner together it was also a memorable milestone. We were living half way across the country from both of our families and didn’t have the funds to make it home for the holidays. Even though it was just the two of us, I still made the full deal meal. My husband was grateful that I had learned to cook as a teen as the meal came out picture perfect – even though it overwhelmed our small kitchen table.

A very special day is the one we called our “orphan” Thanksgiving. This was when I was divorced and got together with a group of other single friends who weren’t going home for the holidays. We all made or brought something to the feast. And what an assortment it was as the person who organized it made sure there weren’t duplicates! It was a great day to relax, chat, munch, drink and occasionally watch a bit of football.

Another that was especially memorable was when my husband and I helped serve Thanksgiving dinner for those in need. Our church at that time did a weekly food bank and we had given out all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal with their choice of either a ham or turkey. But our pastor didn’t think that was enough, so we planned to make the full meal for those who didn’t have real kitchens to prepare them. This was a full day event with helpers and eaters coming in and out throughout the day. I was amazed at seeing all the people who came out for the food, but even more amazed at all the people who came out to help, especially whole families.  The camaraderie and love I felt that day was amazing.

My “empty nesters” Thanksgiving is also another favorite. This was a group 10 people who loved to cook but didn’t have the big family to do it for.  This is the first time I had a free range fresh turkey plus we had a leg of lamb for an additional entree. Both were quite tasty as well as all the wonderful appetizers and side dishes that others brought as their pièce de résistance. We also spent time discussing favorite and memorable meals we had in other parts of the world.

This Thanksgiving dinner I expect to be memorable as well. It will be our first one in Texas. I know it will be memorable as we are sharing the meal with our friends who helped us get our feet on the ground here. They let my husband stay with them while he was looking for a new home for us and then again for a few more days when we arrived ahead of the moving van. Their generosity isn’t just in having us over for dinner, but we also be sharing it with some of their neighbors as well for a community get-together. I’m going to be doing my part for the meal and bringing a couple of my favorite side dishes.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I will be grateful for all my wonderful past memories of this holiday. I look forward to more in the future. What are some of the Thanksgiving memories that you have that bring a smile to your face?

One final note...I did a guest blog yesterday. Here's the link if you would like to read it


  1. What a lovely trip down memory lane!

  2. This post not only gave us your nine memories but also provided snippets of your life, helping us to know you better.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Chris was a sweet way to shift gears today. Love that your post slowed me down and helped me refocus. Thank you, and a most blessed Thanksgiving to you!

  4. Thanks for sharing and opening a door to your life. C.H.

  5. I'm definitely thankful for wonderful memories that outweigh the not so memorable. Right now the not so memorable is knowing that the next 30 days will be heavy study to pass a state licensing exam. My practice test today in one area was a 62% and the other was a 99%.

  6. What great memories, Chris! A wonderful peek into your life. Thanks for sharing your memories. Loved it!

  7. Thanks for opening a window into your world, Christine. I hope your Thanksgiving was another blessed and memorable one. :)

    -Traci B