- Posted November 25, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
It's not Thanksgiving without...
ireport post from TCBobo01, TheTaskmaster57@Yahoo.com, Thanksgiving MemoriesTh
Thanksgiving Memories I sit here, the day after Thanksgiving, 2011 and recall Thanksgivings past and how food has served as a language and as a cohesive element in my life when words and simply belonging were not enough, or adequate to communicate love, belonging , and fitting in with a family which had its own challenges built in. We would either spend Thanksgving or Easter with my aunt and her family in suburban St. Louis over 15 years or so in the 60's and 70's. My aunt later asked me why it was that we stopped seeing her family and kids as much when we became teenagers. I really don't know why, but part of it seemed to be that her children had "outgrown" us, and the connection was misplaced if not entirely lost. I remember staying up late on nites that we arrived listening to my mother, Betty Ruth, laughing and drinking a beer and playing Canasta with her younger sister Dorothea on the night that we arrived. I never saw anyone else enjoy one another's company as much as those two. One Thanksgiving we had a terrible automobile accident , in 1964, and as such we got to keep the Cotton Candy maker we had as a gift for my cousins. We never got there that year. But the Cotton Candy was a small consolation for the missed visit! My father didn't get along with my aunt, so there was some tension . I still remembe "northern stuffing" as opposed to " southern dressing", bread based instead of corn bread based. There were other differences, my older female cousin told me that she was smarter than I. How would I know to argue with such a statement. After all they went to northern schools as different from our Mississippi schools as northern stuffing was from southern dressing. And I am not quite sure what her point was anyway. Keeping score somehow I guess. I still remember learning about a cake made from graham cracker crumbs and iced with a cream cheese frosting from my Aunt, who shared the recipe.. There were all kinds of differences between our families, but there was also that glue of the love and connection between our mothers. I remember crying about something, maybe when I told my aunt that she looked older than her husband at 41, even though he was older. And I remember going to the attic to hide. Hell hath no fury like an aunt told that she looked older than her husband! Even if she didn't! I remember even their iced tea tasted different. It was stronger, and not as sweet as ours. But it was just as good in a different way! And the time my aunt and uncle wet trhough multiple bathroom stops with a Dalmation cross puppy I had gotten at the Humane Society. We had Buttons for many years after that. And I will always remember my Aunt and Uncle stopping many times on the way to meet my parents and trade kids. This was Easter, not Thanksgiving as I remember. And when , years later, my mother died and none of my cousins or my aunt came to her funera, I felt a real loss. It was as if all of those good times together did not mean what I thought they did. I had this foolish idea that after my mother died, my aunt would take over as the family matriarch. Not so much. But the connections were real; everyone was just on their own timetable for connecting and reconnecting. I was genuinely surprised when cousins on both sides of my family came to my father's funeral some 14 years after my mother's death. It+ was in better weather, and was in fact not tooo long away from Thanksgiving. Somehow Thanksgiving and Easter have always been my favorite holidays. Something about the sense of belonging and sharing food as an expression of love not spoken always. The two foods that are inextricably intertwined with Thanksgiving in my mind are Sweet Potatoe pie and Bran Muffins. Don't ask, it doesn't really make a great deal of sense to me either. First Sweet Potato Pie is from our neighbor,