Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Happy Thanksgiving!

on November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I’ll talk about shopping next week but today I want to explain why I love Thanksgiving.  My reasons for loving this holiday are the same as most people in this world. This is the holiday where I get to just relax with family and eat good food. We never seem to have the crazy family drama you see in movies or hear about on TV. It really is a time for us to gather together and catch up.It’s even better because there’s no extra work involved at least not on my end. I just need to arrive at my Aunt and Uncle’s house prepared to eat all the goodies laid out for the day. My family’s Thanksgiving traditions have morphed over the years due to changes that inevitably happen in people’s lives. The holiday has always been celebrated in New Jersey with my mom’s side of the family (except for that one year my mom was on call at the hospital and we hosted Thanksgiving here but I digress).

When I was younger we went to my grandparents house down the shore (yes the shore). The adults gathered around the huge dining room table and us kids (4 of us) would be at a card table off to the side. After dinner, some folks would sit and watch football others would be off playing while others cleaned up; I think. My memory of exact events are fairly fuzzy since we’re talking single digit ages. When I was 10, my grandmother passed away and with that a new Thanksgiving tradition was adopted.

Thanksgiving moved from the shore to Mount Holly, NJ with my Aunt Nora and Uncle Walt. My Uncle Walt was actually my grandfather’s cousin but they grew up together and were like brothers so Uncle he is and always shall be. The house in Mount Holly was a beautiful old house from the 1800s? I think. We’d arrive and there was always a fire going in the fire place. Uncle Walt had MS so he’d be parked near the fire in his wheel chair excited to have everyone coming over and Aunt Nora was busy in the kitchen. The house in Mount Holly had no TV this made for some of the best Thanksgivings over the years. Everyone sat in the living room and talked. Uncle Walt would share stories from his travels over the years. Aunt Nora would discuss adventures from England (where she was from). The whole family would catch up on events from the past year. They didn’t have a big dining room table like Grandmom and Pop pop’s house so we filled our plates buffet style and would either sit at the small table tucked in a corner of the living room or off tray tables. We were all still in the same room by the fireplace and would continue chatting. Even though all we had to pass the time with just each other’s company and conversation these dinners always flew by. As the years went on Uncle Walt had complications from his MS and it became too much for Aunt Nora to host everyone at the house. My Uncle Walt has since passed away and Aunt Nora moved back to England. She’s sold the house in Mount Holly but I will always have a special place in my heart for it and the family gatherings we had there.

Ever since then, we have Thanksgiving at my Aunt Bobby & Uncle Bob’s house outside of Trenton, NJ. The house was originally built around 1900 and my Aunt and Uncle put a bunch of money into fixing it up. It’s another beautiful house. We don’t talk around the fire like at Uncle Walt’s house but I love Thanksgiving there just the same. They have a huge TV so football games are not missed and always on. My Uncle Bob is the chef. He enjoys doing the cooking and creating fantastic food for us. The holiday here is always relatively laid back and relaxing. We have to split up between two tables because being an old house there isn’t a room that can hold a table large enough for all of us. We all catch up at some point over dinner, or football, or investigating what wonderful things my Uncle is cooking up. Inevitably after dinner my mom and her sister end up in the kitchen talking shop since they are both operating room nurses. At some point in the evening, my cousin’s husband will ask me when I’m going to find myself a guy and have some kids.  This is the only stressful point of the whole holiday for me. It reminds me that I’m single and I don’t need reminders. Fortunately, my other cousin is also not married and still living at home so the issue isn’t pressed that much and we can move on to other topics like football. Every other year we’ll depart from my Aunt and Uncle’s house and meet up with my sister at her in-laws for a second round of desserts. It’s like a little encore Thanksgiving after the main meal. These are always good visits that make the holiday that much better.

Our Thanksgiving’s have changed a lot over the years but I’ve loved every version of the holiday. They’ve all been different in their way but no matter what, they were a great time for the family to get together and catch up over a fantastic meal. How can you not love that?

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