This is one of my favorite writings by Charlotte Grimes about how we pass on our traditions from one generation to the next.Whether your Thanksgiving is for 2 or 20, count your blessings and hold tight to your memories.By :CHARLOTTE GRIMES WASHINGTON DCTwo At The Table, Many In the Heart
THANKSGIVING MORNING the comforting ritual starts:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Un wrap the turkey breast from its store-bought cellophane cocoon. “Why on earth would you do all that cooking?” people sometimes ask. There are only the two of us, you see, my husband Tom and me, in our household. “With no one else there,” people sometimes ask, “doesn’t it make you lonely?” They are interesting questions, and I set a part of my mind to considering them, while another part and my hands take over the familiar holiday tasks. Stick the turkey in the oven to roast. Lay it on the kitchen counter, for testing the doneness, my mother’s old two- pronged meat fork, its’ wooden handle worn smooth by her hand.
Thanksgiving, of course, is a day of big family gatherings, of scores of relatives – children, cousins, aunts, grandparents – gathered around the table. Even today, when it’s commercialized into the beginning of the Christmas shopping sea son, we think of it that way – the Norman Rockwell painting of American family life. But I sometimes wonder if the image is fair to either Thanksgiving or the family.
From its year long hiding place above the refrigerator, down comes the turkey’s oval serving platter. It is a lovely thing of china roses edged in gold, bought by Tom’s grandmother as a young bride. Out of the drawer, ready for the carving, comes My father’s old silver handled hunting knife. Its blade is thin ,from his patient sharpening on a whetstone, almost too fragile for the job. Someday we’ll have to retire it. But not today.
Once upon a time, like a fairy tale that some of us lived, a family was a chirping brood of grandparents, parents, and children all sharing the same house or street or county. And a gathering-in of the clan for work, for crisis, or for Thanksgiving was simple. A walk from the bedroom to .the kitchen table. A short journey by buggy, by car, by bus, to the family homestead.