Tis the season for many things. Some of us will travel. Some of us will be home cooking dinner. Many of us will be visiting with friends or relatives. Now we come to the part where so many will be alone. Many do not look beyond their own kitchen table and think of those heartbroken and lonley or both kind of folks. Many may carry themselves to visit Grandpa at the nursing home as he sits with his turkey and dressing and room full of people he either doesn't remember or too sick to enjoy .
Every year the table seems to get smaller at our home as do many homes where as families live in different locations and due to work or some other circumstance, don't make it back to visit, even during holidays. Some this holiday season, as all holiday seasons find themselves just trying to get through the ritual. There are firsts during the holidays.. First time without a loved one present. First time without joy. First time with a new addition. First time to cook. First time to do nothing. First time to truly reflect.
The first time for no food. Yes..we have reached that point in time that for many families there will be no food. The economic recovery has not exactly recovered and there will still be hunger in America this Thanksgiving. There will still be sickness.
There will still be despair. There will be a new tradition for someone of loss of tradition.
I think of cool, crisp leaves rustling and a child at play from years past as Big Mama ( my grandma) served up the turkey and dressing. I think of the laughter and 50 years ago the chatter and tears of the death of a president. I recall the drawing of the names for Christmas between cousins. I recall Thanksgiving and not having a real clue of what it meant until all those faces have vanished. I recall later on my Mother serving the Turkey and some faces gone forever. I now had a better clue of what Thanksgiving was supposed to be but not a full grasp yet. We can now fast forward to me being the one serving dinner to my own family. This has been happening now over 15 years but more change has come through the years as brisk and bitter as the wind that rustled the leaves years past. Children are grown, grandchildren are grown, and we are a bit more frail.
We wait for phone calls that may or may not come. We look out the window for a glimpse of some reminder that this is really Thanksgiving with all the people we have known no longer here. Many of us also scrimp a little more than years past.
We think of our children and them working over the holidays, some hundreds of miles away. We think of working at the food kitchens and we wonder when all of this change took place. This is not to be a sad diary but a diary of awareness. No matter your age, one day if you remember Thanksgiving in a traditional way, remember this....it changes. Try not to quibble about politics this season. Try not to do anything but laugh and enjoy the smell of cinnamon and yams. If you have a pizza, point to the cheese and make a turkey joke. The main thing is to be with your loved ones. There will come a time, this will no longer be possible. Try to take pictures and then hug that Granny or Mama or child that just drives you nuts. One day you may cry for the touch of that hand or smile from that face. Help someone who needs your strength. Hug someone who needs your arms. Smile to someone who needs your courage and Love someone who needs your warmth.
To my friends here...Have a safe Thanksgiving and be thankful that once more you may look across the table to make another memory. I wish it were possible we could all eat at one huge table at one huge meetup because, I think of all of us as not a traditional family but family just the same.
A song for Thanksgiving to my friends here at Daily Kos