Family

Celebrating The Past On Thanksgiving Day

Be thankful quote, sunset
Quote by Pablo, photo by Ms. Phoenix, flickr.com, cc.

 

My daughter’s eight-day visit is over. Mother’s and daughters, there’s something special about that relationship. I wonder if it’s because mother’s see a reflection of themselves in their daughter’s mannerisms for a fleeting moment. And when your kids are on their own and live in another state, every moment with them is fleeting.

The drive to LAX via the dreaded 405 freeway was so ‘unbusy’ it was like driving on another freeway in another century. Then again, many people had today off and it was 6:30 in the morning. Going back to Denver is always bittersweet for my daughter. We talk about who she got to visit, if her cat is mad at her, and wondering if it’s possible to transfer her job closer to home in California. We talk about plans for the next year, relationships, and her future.

We had fun attending the Guillermo Del Toro exhibit at LACMA. His movies are a little macabre for me (Pan’s Labrinyth, Chronos, Blade II …,) but I was willing to sacrifice my personal opinion to spend more time with my daughter. Plus, I got to see several Picasso’s at the museum. Shopping, getting Mani/Pedi’s, a haircut, and visiting with friends and relatives rounded out her visit.
Guillermo Del Toro exhibit-LACMA, Los Angeles, CA
Guillermo Del Toro exhibit-LACMA, Los Angeles, CA

Twenty of us gathered for Thanksgiving with my sister and brother-in-law. We ate almost three hours later than intended, but that will be a memory for another turkey day.

We had deep fried turkey, baked ham, and all the other fixings. My vegan son brought his own ‘turkey’ roast, gravy, rolls and pumpkin pie. Seven relatives ventured a taste of this non-meat roast and all of them gave the vegan food a thumbs up.

My sister asked me to say a prayer. I thought about that request and came up with a reflection instead:

There was a time when Thanksgiving dinner was a chicken meal, when the stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes showed up in a cardboard box on our back porch. There were no leftovers in those years but for the compassion of others, we are thankful.

Each Thanksgiving our turkey grew in size, along with the number of aunts, uncles, and cousins who shared meals with us. The size of our table expanded and we had enough to share. For our family we are thankful.

Time runs, leaving memories in its dust. Along the way, we lost loved ones, but our recollection of them is with us in our kitchens and tables as we celebrate. For those who went before us, we are thankful.

Remember the last 365 days. The days that we struggled and the days when we laughed with joy. The difficult days and the days we never wanted to end. Remember the times when someone gave us an encouraging word, a hug, or prayed for us, for it’s in those days that we learned to keep going, to keep hoping, to have faith. For the gift of love and support, we are thankful.

And now we get together here, with our mother, brother, and sisters, nieces and nephews, in-laws, friends, grandkids, and great-grandkids, still together, after all of these years sharing a Thanksgiving meal together.

And for this, let us be thankful.

A few of the grandchildren remarked “Chicken?”

Which led to the stories about when we were children and being the recipient of charity boxes on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And these stories led to other stories of post-dinner basketball games when we were young mothers and fathers. We left the table heavy with food and full of good memories.

And for that, I am thankful.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. 

Family, Gratitude, poetry, poverty

Who Knew I’d Give Thanks For…

Boxed by Craig J. Sunter, flickr.com
Boxed by Craig J. Sunter, flickr.com

Twenty plus people arrive at my home tomorrow. Lots of cleaning, shopping, cooking. For that I give thanks.

We’re celebrating with my mom, who’s still kicking and funnier than she realizes, siblings, nieces, nephews, friends. For that I give thanks.

Growing up, my sisters and brother and mom lived in government housing. I didn’t really notice that we were poor until the holidays. For that I give thanks.

There are no more days like that for us, and never for our children. For that I give thanks.

Thanksgiving Poem

Cardboard charity box,

left on the back porch

on a dreary early morn.

 

A big mama chicken?

No, a turkey.

Our very own?

 

Green beans, corn,

lots of corn, cranberry jelly,

a bag of flour.

 

Potato flakes—

none of us ever tasted those before—

made flavorful with welfare butter,

a yellow block of sunshine.

 

A table

with more than two items

to go with the grape Kool-Aid

and tortillas.

 

One parent,

four children,

all together.

For that, I give thanks.

To all my readers, for sharing your generous comments, dialogue, blogs, and books, I give thanks.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and time spent with loved ones this holiday.

Family, Parenting, Travel

A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

A Vegan Thanksgiving
A Vegan Thanksgiving

I am not a Vegan or a Vegetarian. But I’m at my kid’s apartment preparing for the Thanksgiving meal. My son is Vegan and that’s fine because for one day I can be vegan too.

Before my trip to Denver airport I slipped in a frozen container enclosed in a freezer bag into my checked luggage. It’s a vegan ‘turkey’ roll with dressing and gravy. I tried it at Trader Joe’s and it tasted so good, I had to taste it twice.

There are no TJ’s in Colorado thus the ‘turkey’ in the suitcase. I noticed an ice spot growing bigger on the side of the suitcase when the clerk tagged the bag. I prayed my ‘turkey’ wouldn’t be confiscated.

And it was difficult to find the other items for our Vegan Thanksgiving in Colorado. The main course made it through TSA but I couldn’t find fresh cranberry relish so have to make my own. There’s a cool recipe with red wine that I’ll try.

My daughter is making the pumpkin pies. I was sure I could find non-dairy pie crusts so I wouldn’t have to make them from scratch, but I couldn’t. We settled for graham cracker crusts.

And did you know there’s no wine at Whole Foods, Walmart, or Walgreen’s here?! Blew my mind. Clerks said I must be from California. We had to go out of town to find a nice Merlot at a big liquor store.

Now that all that’s done I’m just glad to be here, on a beautiful sunny crisp day in Colorado. Snow capped mountains, bare tree limbs, and Robin’s Egg blue skin surround us. The smell of pine and fireplace smoke fills the air.

This is the first year, in my entire life, that I am not with my mother and at least one sibling for Thanksgiving. This is the year all of us decided to spend time with our children who are in different parts of California and my own in Colorado.

My mom did not like our decision but we did what we felt was right for us. She made peace with it because in the end we are family. But she still can’t believe that I’m having a Vegan Thanksgiving dinner.

I hope you have a peaceful day with lots of delicious food. Hug your family and friends.