Traditions at Thanksgiving

… and Non-Traditions, too

By Jeff Salter

This whole week at 4F1H, I’ve been wracking my brain for images which I’d consider “traditions” — for how or where I’d spent Thanksgiving. I took the sense of that topic as being primarily about the Thanksgiving MEAL… and I’m coming up rather blank.

As far as a family meal itself, a few stand out. One is a fairly early one, when I was in grade school (late 50s or early 60s) and we all went to my Grandmother Robinson’s small house in our same town of Covington LA. She’d prepared a lavish – by our standards – feast and it was one of the few times I recall eating in her actual dining space. I remember each of us was asked to say a portion of Grace, in which we mentioned something particular we were thankful for. I don’t recall what I was appreciative of, but my little sister was thankful for the cranberry sauce. Wonder why that sticks in my brain?

I married young and many of our Thanksgivings were spent elsewhere, besides our own meager digs. For example, in my 3.5 Air Force years, we were stationed in three different places. After my military hitch, we were often at my in-laws’ house in Dallas (or wherever they were at the time). In those years of having young children, whenever they were out of school, my wife usually wanted to visit her folks (and rightly so). Sometimes, of course, we visited my folks.

One year we were here, another year we were there — some years we stayed home and had relatives (occasionally friends) visiting us. So I don’t have a set of rich memories of any particular tradition.


The Non-Traditions

So let me take a moment to reflect on the Thanksgivings which stand out because they were unique — rather than traditional (in the sense of nearly everybody in the family gathered around).

One was my freshman year at Mercer University (GA) — Nov. 1968. Not enough money to fly home to Louisiana, but my mom’s cousin had a son at that same school. His folks got him to invite me to ride with him to AL, where I hooked up with his folks and another set of cousins.

Another was my tour of duty overseas, at remote Thule Air Base in N.W. Greenland (within the Arctic Circle) — Nov. 1972. Don’t recall much about any particular meal, but it was my first time away from my wife and young son. I probably went to the NCO Club and saw a USO show.

One year (possibly early 80s), for reasons I can’t recall now – but possibly my wife was working retail and couldn’t get away – she and our daughter stayed home, while I took our son to AL to visit my newly-relocated mother. I recall stopping along the way (probably somewhere along I-20 in MS) at a place like Shoney’s. Dave and I ate fairly traditional Thanksgiving fare – though he was a very picky eater – but the observance (and company) was anything but traditional.

One recent year, my wife and daughter (and her kids) drove from KY to LA to visit my son and his family. My mom was not able to travel anymore and I couldn’t leave her by herself, so I stayed behind. Having checked out the arrangements in advance, I made a late morning trip to the local IGA and picked up two plate lunches — turkey, dressing, taters, and everything else you’d expect. I brought those to my Mom’s cottage and we had a nice quiet dinner together. So I can’t claim I ever COOKED a Thanksgiving Dinner, but I surely did PROVIDE one.


What about YOU? Any special Thanksgiving traditions? Any Thanksgivings which stand out in your memory because of how DIFFERENT they were?

Previous Thanksgiving columns:

This one includes links to Thanksgiving columns of 2013, 2012, and a guest Fox on that day in 2011. In particular, please check out the link to 2012’s Thanksgiving column, because I’m talking about many of the wonderful people who have contributed to my writing experience.

[JLS # 255]





About jeff7salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Twelve completed novels and five completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015, "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015, "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015, "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014, "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014, "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014, "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014, "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013, "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013, "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013, "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012, "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012. Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Traditions at Thanksgiving

  1. I really enjoyed your memories here,Jeff. What I miss is my mother and HER cooking,but also the extended family that used to sometimes ‘drop in’ from states away because they knew the door would be open and the feast would be on! I’m hoping to get my cousin and her family to start coming back as they did for a few years.I have my sons, grandchildren and a guest this year.I have room and food for more. Happy Thanksgiving to the Salter Clan!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jeff7salter says:

    thanks, Tonette. I wish extra blessings on you and your clan also.


  3. jbrayweber says:

    It’s not Thanksgiving until someone get beaned with a flying buttered roll. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    You’ve had some interesting memories, Jeff. I really can’t recall any Thanksgivings that were different. Even though I went to a college two states away I always managed to get home for the holiday – although one year the 300 mile trip home actually took two days due to miscommunication, cars breaking down, and other setbacks. By the time I made it home it was nearly time to turn around and head back!
    Those prepared dinners are not all bad. We actually bought some after the holiday when the leftovers were marked down. I’m sure your mom appreciated you providing dinner for her! Hope you’ve had a blessed holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s