I love Thanksgiving. I have to admit, it’s not my favorite holiday, but it is still right up there with my favorites. I especially enjoy the fact that it’s kind of the beginning of the holiday season and it’s kind of “all down hill” from here. It’s the big kick-off to the holiday season and that, I love.
I grew up in Vermont and we almost always had snow for Thanksgiving when I was younger. I remember getting out the sled and building snow forts with my brother and sister in the backyard with nothing but the light of the moon. I specifically remember one year where we had a huge snowstorm – one of those heavy, wet snows – on Thanksgiving Day and by evening, we had no power. We all ate leftovers reheated on the wood stove in the living room.
When I hit high school, I enjoyed Thanksgiving because it meant my sister, and later my brother, were coming home from college for a few days.
I loved going with my brother halfway to PA to pick up my sister. Then, when he left for college, I looked forward to Thanksgiving morning when I would see my brother for the first time since September. I’m sure that feeling was not always reciprocated (we weren’t the best of friends…) but, I was always excited to see him.
We always had over an elderly lady named Mrs. Whitehill for every holiday. She was like a grandma to us since our grandparents lived hundreds of miles away and never visited for the holidays. She was this sweet widow who knitted and crocheted – she made us doll clothes, Barbie clothes, and everything in between – every year. She always, always, always brought this green jell-o for every holiday meal. She would also bring the newest Disney movie to share. We loved having her over. We never ate a holiday meal without her. It just wasn’t complete until she was there. She passed away when I was in my first year of college. But, I’ll never forget her.
And then… college life changed all those traditions. My first year, we lived in Canada. My sister came home and my mom made a lovely Thanksgiving meal. My dad picked me up from college with the wonderful words, “We took your dog back to Vermont to live with another family.”
I sobbed. I think I cried off and on that whole weekend. I loved that dog.
The next year, I was in Wisconsin and couldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving, so I went to be with an aunt and uncle a couple hours north of where I was going to school. I spent Thanksgiving with them – eating in a hotel (something I’d never done before for any holiday!) and then getting a Christmas tree the next day with my cousins and their families. It was definitely… different, although not altogether unenjoyable. Just – totally not what I was used to. And that’s okay.
And then… I met Brian. We had been dating a month when we went to South Dakota for Thanksgiving. I had actually agreed to go to South Dakota before we started dating – which appalled my parents to no end. I wanted to see that part of the country – I’d never been before! And we were good friends – I thought it would be fun. In the end, we went as a dating couple and had a blast. One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories. I met his family and was totally unprepared for what that would be like. Five boys, plus my now father-in-law, all of them obsessed with cars, mechanics, and talking about anything with machinery. His parents were still upset with Brian for going to Bible school and not going to a trade school, so we weren’t allowed to stay at their house. We stayed with his pastor’s family and they made us feel very welcome that weekend. Brian took me to do some sightseeing and I got to see a part of his world. Hands down, I would do that trip again.
After getting married, I spent Thanksgivings with Brian’s family, so it was four years before I had Thanksgiving with my family again. We thought 2007 would be our last year in the States, so we had planned for Christmas to be a full-out family bash. So, my brother and sister didn’t come for Thanksgiving – we just had a nice Thanksgiving with my parents. Then, in the end, we were in the States a whole other year. Thanksgiving 2008, my parents went to Vermont to be with my sister and Brian and I stayed at their place. I made us a nice meal on Wednesday:
Now, here we are – in South America. This will be our 3rd Thanksgiving here. 2009: I cooked our meal for us and two American girls doing Bible school here.
2010: The other American family cooked for us since I had a tiny baby at home and we were leaving for furlough the following week. This week, she will be hosting again, but I’ll be providing a few more dishes than last year. Sunday, I’m going to do a few special things for us, too, as we decorate our Christmas tree.
So, there you have it – just a little walk through my Thanksgivings of old. Here’s to many more Thanksgivings with many more things to be thankful for. Hope you and yours have a lovely holiday – wherever around the world you may be!