I love Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday devoted to family and eating – the perfect combination. Plus, it’s the official kick-off to the Christmas season; the opening festivities if you will – and New Year’s Eve is the closing ceremony.

I recall watching the Macy’s parade in the morning on TV and then “Hans Christian Anderson” with Danny Kaye and “March of the Wooden Soldiers” with Laurel & Hardy.  I don’t know why, but when I was a kid these movies were a Thanksgiving staple. When I was really young we would go to my grandparent’s house to eat. They lived in our town, so there was no “over the river and through the woods” commute, just a quick trip up the hill. My grandmother was actually a step-grandmother; my biological Nana died right after I was born. Grandma would invite her daughter’s family to come as well, and they had two kids which was fun for me.

We would spend the pre-dinner hours in the basement horsing around or, better yet, coming up with some sort of a play or a show to entertain the adults with after dinner. I would also kill time by rifling through my grandfather’s junk drawer. It was filled with springs, keys, bolts, bulbs and other odds n’ ends, and I always imagined I could build a robot of some kind.  Once dinner was ready I sat at the requisite Kid’s table where I ate my turkey and stuffing, and later in the evening my grandmother’s apple pie, which was very good.

After my grandfather died in the late 70’s, my mother took over Thanksgiving. Dad would set up a big table in the front living room, and my Aunt Carol would come over, and I remember she always chose a turkey leg. It was humorous because she was very short and almost child-like in appearance. Seeing her with a giant bird leg on her plate was somewhat disproportionate. As the years went on, and my siblings got married, wives and eventually nieces and nephews would fill the table, and until my Aunt Carol died in 1986, she was always there with her turkey leg.

My kids’ Thanksgiving memories will be remembered as a trip to my sister’s house. Aunt Wendy always hosts Thanksgiving, mainly because she’s a way better cook than me, and she has the room. My kids sit around watching my husband and I laugh and catch up with my sister, her husband and my two nieces – this is after the annual en-route lecture about “leaving mommy alone” and “letting mommy talk with her sister.”

I wonder if they’re getting ripped off in the memories department. My Thanksgiving remembrances are bathed in a golden haze of old fashioned nostalgia, where theirs seem so ordinary. I don’t know, perhaps it’s just me. I never feel like our holidays are as grand or as magical as they were when I was a kid.

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