Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgivings Past

If you are cooking a Thanksgiving meal, or even if you're simply taking a dish or two to someone else's house for Thanksgiving, today may be the day for food preparations. What memories do you have of Thanksgiving Past? Some good ones? All good ones? None good?

This year we are bringing food to the home of a friend. One of the things I'm preparing is my mother's recipe for cranberry relish. I have the recipe card written in her handwriting, complete with a splash or two of cranberry juice on it. Now that Mom is gone, that card (as well as others in her handwriting) is so special to me. Her recipe is, too, because it carries with it memories of times when she made the cranberry relish and my family enjoyed sitting at a table with her, Dad and my siblings.

I also have memories of some Thanksgivings that weren't spent with family or friends—times after my divorce when my sons went to their father's home or times when they've been with the families of their wives. So I'm extremely aware that not everyone experiences this or other holidays as times of joy. For some, this time of year is just a recipe for loneliness. I remember well one such year when I was working up to a huge pity-party because of the prospect of Thanksgiving alone. The night before, a friend of mine invited me to join her in serving up hot meals to homeless people in the city. I will never forget that experience: I was warmed through and through by the looks of joy and gratitude as I helped dish up food and warm smiles. I came home that night with a heart filled to the brim with gratitude, the pity-party completely over.

Is there someone you can reach out to this Thanksgiving? Do you need some warmth and compassion? Does someone else need yours?

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