“What was Thanksgiving like when you were a little girl?” Cole asked as I was making plans for this week.
“It was nice,” I said, before I gave it much thought.
“Just nice? Was it different in any way?”
What was different? I had to think. When we get caught up in our day to day busy-ness, we forget the moments that became traditions and memories.
My Thanksgiving began when it was still dark, as I wanted to get up as early as possible to enjoy the day. Granny had started cooking the night before when she got off work, and her turkey would already be a golden perfection, just waiting until we all ate.
I would sit in the den, listening to her humming in the kitchen and she would wrap me under a quilt, tucking the end under my feet to keep me warm.
“What do you want for breakfast?” she would ask.
I swear, the old gal was downright sweet when she was cooking. Something about being in the kitchen suited her soul.
“I don’t know,” I would say, knowing what she would offer.
“You want me to fix you a sandwich with the first slice of turkey?”
I would nod and minutes later, she returned with a sandwich of white bread generously coated with mayonnaise, salt, pepper and warm turkey.
“The parade will be on later,” she would tell me, turning on the TV.
Granny spent most of the day in the kitchen but it was worth it – she had homemade coconut and banana cakes; Mississippi mud cake; and sweet potato and chocolate pies. Two separate pans of dressing – one with onions and one without for me and my uncle Bobby.
It was a rare day during the week that I had all of my family home in the same time frame – Pop and Bobby were home, instead of working. Mama usually had worked the night before and with it being a holiday, she normally worked then as well, but she’d watch the parade with me.
Cousins, aunts and uncles would wander in throughout the afternoon to watch part of the football game or just visit.
To me, it was a perfect day.
I don’t even remember any Black Friday sales when I was a little girl – if there was, we didn’t go. Granny had the Sears Wish Book and that’s where she was doing her shopping.
Normally, we were still digesting the day after Thanksgiving.
It changed, when I met my ex, as I started celebrating Thanksgiving with his family.
I never realized how much I missed my own family’s celebration until I got older and things had changed so much it could never be re-created. And, just like that, everything was different.
It was a simple, idyllic time, surrounded by family, during an era free of fear and worry. The news was not filled with horrors or stories that make your heart ache. Or at least it wasn’t for me, because I was a child.
I didn’t know there were things in the world to fear.
How was my Thanksgiving different?
So much has changed in more than 30 years.
The world is such a different place now, a real life dichotomy that can be terrifying and full of hope at the same time. Things are so different now than when I was a little girl.
There’s a more hurried pace and the time together is so much shorter. We are lucky to just have Thanksgiving dinner with family now, those times of Thanksgiving spanning over several days are long gone.
But there we are, we find ourselves surrounded by those we love and are thankful for.
“Not much has changed,” I said, kissing his head. “It’s still a day we focus on all we are grateful for.”
Indeed, and we truly have so much.