Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Most Memorable Thanksgiving to Date

I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving - one being "turkey wrangling". My mom purchased a not so huge turkey one year. She had left the bird to thaw in the kitchen sink (a no-no by today's standards!). When time came to remove the giblets and neck - the "battle" began. Have you ever tried to wrestle a featherless, wet bird that's bigger than you? Well, it may have been dead, but it hadn't given up the "ghost"! The neck to that bird was so lodged inside that it took my mom and me to remove it. Finally, after chasing it around the sink and across the counter, holding on to it for dear life and trying to keep it off the floor, we finally retrieved the stubborn thing from the slippery wet bird! No wonder we had such a struggle - that neck was long enough for TWO turkeys to share! (no, I don't mean the ones wrestling with said bird!) But amidst the uncontrolled laughter and the slimy clothes, we got that thing dressed and ready for the oven!

But. . . that isn't the most "memorable" Thanksgiving for me, although it is right up there. The clincher would come many years later!

As some of you know, my oldest daughter lives in KY. Her family was traveling home for Thanksgiving and Christmas for a while, so Bob and I decided to share the burden and go there for Thanksgivings and they would come here for Christmases.

This particular year, we were all together at Jenny's. Bob, Ben, and I. Kelly, Paul, Rease and Helena, and all of Jenny's crew - Jenny, Todd, Christian, Alicia, Sarah, Hope and Erica. Whew!

We had a wonderful day - starting. Not so much ending up. The kids made "hand turkeys", wrote down what they were thankful for, played, argued, and played some more. Todd cooked the bird in a Turkey Fryer outside. Jenny, Kelly and I did the remaining preps. Dinner is done - but someone is missing -someone sick upstairs - can't remember who. All remaining get seated. During dinner, someone else drops off - not feeling quite right. By day's end - we were in full swing with the flu.

Things were looking even bleaker on "Black Friday"! And let me tell ya - it was a black day! People were dropping like flies! The well took care of the sick -the well got sick and the sick got sicker : (Two bathrooms and twelve pukey people - not a pretty thing).

Needless to say, the drive home for most of us that weekend wasn't a cake walk, either. For some reason, Paul and Kelly had driven separately, so I drove with Kelly as far as I could go (they lived in PA at the time, we live in MD). There's not enough paper towels in the world to clean up toddler puke and nothing smells worse than sour milk. It was too cold to roll the windows down and smelled too bad to keep them up! What a quandary! Plus, Kelly had to travel the last 2-3 hours by herself. Ben went with Bob (who was fighting to keep his stomach in place) and I hooked back up with them when Kelly had to go her own way.

Everyone survived (Ben and I never did get sick - praise the Lord!). The older kids still talk about it on occasion - the adults would just as soon forget.

And . . as you can guess - there were a LOT of uneaten leftovers that year!

It will be interesting to see what future holiday gatherings bring. With such a large family, you can bet something will go awry, be hysterical, or touching, or even on occasion - just be "Plain Jane". But they will be our memories, our heartstrings, our lives. One would think that the flu would ruin it all, that all was lost in vain, to be one of those things tossed in the junk pile of life. But, unbeknownst to us, it would be that last time we would spend Thanksgiving together as a whole. Our trials as a family unit would soon follow. Individual families would be shattered apart, both physically and emotionally. So, don't just embrace all the good in life - grab the junk that comes along with it because in that junk you will find the most precious, little gems: hand turkeys, things to be thankful for, family leaning on each other because there is no one else. It may be years later that you recognize their worth -but polished they will shine for you. So mine the caves of your memories and look for the gems hidden in the junk piles of life - polish them and treasure them.

Happy Memorable Thanksgiving to all of you! ! !


  1. TFS Barb. Memories are so unique for each of us,. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday with family. I really hadn't thought much about past turkey days until now, due to the time it takes me to prep for a bug meal :-) We did something different- called a "blessing box" where all wrote down 5 things they were thankful for. After the meal. We passed the box around & read one & had to guess who wrote it. There were some who thought it a silly act. This morning after my devos, I read each blessing over & the common thread for each of the 10 of us was God was SO good to provide each of us with that "unit" to be blessed by...

  2. This was one of "those" Thanksgivings for me. Most likely the last Thanksgiving that my mom will be alive. So many racing emotions. Thank you for sharing your heart in this post.


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i'm a wife, a mom, a mom-mom, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend...i'm a child of God.... i love to read, scrap, and sew (all when time permits!)... i like trying new things, going to different places, even if only in my mind....i like simple, but life is complicated....i like spring days, snow storms, thunderstorms, and big puffy clouds you can make things out of....i like coffee, tea and iced chocolate milk you can sip thru a straw..........