Thanksgiving forever will be a dandy Norman Rockwell painting of my family’s dining room and a big train to bring me home.
A timely article in this space on this day hasn’t far to stretch for what to write about. It’s a thanks-giving day.
Hasn’t everything been said? Doesn’t everyone have his own special memories? And who cares about Nan and her feelings about a long-ago Wednesday night before turkey day?
First of all, I don’t do a lot of cooking, so the monumental chore of that dinner table and the intricate timing to get everything done at the same time never challenged me. My job was to keep Dad out of the kitchen on major meal deals. While my last grandparent died when I was 17, I still remember going to their house in the 400 block of North Main. I remember (and for many years to follow) my uncle preferring more turkey and dressing for dessert. And then, my two brothers and three cousins would put small chairs on their sides, cover them with blankets and play house in the parlor. This is the same parlor where my mother was born, married and cared for her invalid mother.
If you have any alone time today in your car or a corner at home, try to write a paragraph in your head about your most vivid Thanksgiving feeling. It might not even be vivid. I suspect it’ll be a bit warm or maybe sad. Walk to your front window and really look out and see what is there. Most of us live in a spot that hugs and sustains us. Hopefully, the leaves finally are gathered.
Writing paragraphs, especially to share “thanks” are not easy. But you can do it, just as you did in the fifth grade. Every September, you composed, created and crunched “What I Did Last Summer” into one fine theme as school resumed. That will get you going. It works for me.
A DAY LONG AGO
I promised in my second paragraph to share the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.
At a certain time in my life, I would spend eight hours of that day getting to Canton. At noon, I would run out of English class with the noted Bergen Evans at Northwestern and never stop moving until I arrived at Canton’s Pennsy station. I conquered the trip to Chicago and found my seat mostly on top a suitcase.
It was wartime and travel was heavy. I felt I was in the blurry middle of a big, big world. I had just been away from home for the longest time ever. For three months, my college friends were told I wasn’t crying, it was an allergy.
It would be the first Thanksgiving without my brothers at the table. No one to toss bread to. I would be busy meeting friends for a chocolate-nut sundae at Schafer-Messerly Drug Store, playing games at the Community Building and visiting teachers. That’s the thanking time I remember.
Page 2 of 2 - When I crawled in bed at midnight Wednesday, I knew I would set the table for dinner. After that, there would be only three more nights and I returned west. Eventually, my college allergy cleared up and you couldn’t keep me from my second home on University Place.
Thanksgiving forever will be a dandy Norman Rockwell painting of my family’s dining room and a big train to bring me home on that Wednesday night.
But will I always be seated at the children’s table?