This week’s topic is Thanksgiving traditions. I looked up the word tradition because I wasn’t sure exactly what length of time a particular way of doing things had to exist before it became a tradition. Of course, none of my sources answered that question. Definitions like “a continuing pattern,” “a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting,” and “a customary or characteristic method” leave the time line open to debate. So I guess that’s a good thing, because it seems that just when we get comfortable doing things one way, things happen and we have to adjust to doing things a new way.
In my younger days, we always had a nice roast for Thanksgiving. My father didn’t like turkey, so we had beef. And we always had rice, because mom cooked and served rice with every meal. We usually had a green vegetable, like broccoli or cucumber. It was mom and dad, my brothers, my grandmother and me – we didn’t have any other relatives on this continent. The next day, my friends and I would catch the bus into the city with our babysitting money and we’d start our Christmas shopping. I remember being more enchanted by the window displays than the items for sale. One of the large department stores had a miniature train that traveled on a track installed along the walls high above our heads and we’d watch it travel from room to room.
Later on, after we finally convinced Mom to take it easy, my husband took over the cooking. I cleaned the house and he’d take care of the food. We had a turkey, but in deference to Dad’s taste we also had a small roast or ham to go with it. There were plenty of people here, because in addition to mom and dad we had my husband’s kids and families as well as our children. Sometimes the kids would come before or after visiting other relatives, so we had people coming and going for most of the day. The television would be tuned to football games, and we’d either watch or nap. I always took the turkey carcass and put it in a stock pot to make soup (it’s one of the few things hubby lets me cook without his supervision). By this time, Black Friday shopping became more frenzied and I avoided it as much as possible. I’d use the rest of the long weekend to catch up on school work, projects around the house, or get started on Christmas projects.
This year, my daughter has decided she wants to host Thanksgiving. She doesn’t care for turkey, so we’re having pork loin. We have been delegated to bring the stuffing and one pie (hubby will take care of those). It’ll be her family, hubby and me, our younger daughter and her boyfriend, and my mother. I don’t know what will happen the rest of the weekend, but my to-do list is pretty long right now, so I will have no trouble keeping myself occupied. Of course if mom or my daughters have other plans I’ll happily put the list away and deal with it later.
Over the years our Thanksgiving menu has changed, and the location has shifted, but the gathering of family has remained an important tradition that I hope will always stay in place.