The best part of Thanksgiving is to give thanks. I will start by giving thanks for the memories of Thanksgivings that enriched my past. Those family excursions to Belmont California from our home in Fairfax became a tradition steeped in the generosity of those that created that experience.
We would pick up my grandmother whom would bring the most amazing hand-crafted chocolate and banana cream pies the world could ever imagine. At least in my world… I knew it was Thanksgiving when my grandmother (Gracie) would climb into the car and I could smell the (easy to identify) wonderful aromas of those pies from recipes passed down from generation to generation. What took those pies to another level was the love and caring that went into making them.
We would drive across the Golden Gate down the peninsula to Belmont. There we would be greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, my Uncle Jack and Aunt Marianne, and the Wilson’s daughter Marianne. I was named after my Uncle Jack and “little” Marianne was named after my Aunt Marianne.
“Little” Marianne and I became good friends, always playing together highlighted by the typical games of the day. First it was hide and seek, then tag, and when we got a little older, Monopoly. We enjoyed each other’s company and the warmth and kindness of all those at that wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.
Typically we would start with a prayer and thank God for all the blessings bestowed upon our families. The table was long and elegant decorated with pumpkins, wreaths of silver and gold ribbon, with a beautiful flower arrangement in the middle of the table flanked by ornate silver candelabra.
The meal was wonderfully executed by Mrs. Wilson. Turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, and the salad made famous in the fifties… the jello mold salad. The first time I went to this (soon to become tradition) Thanksgiving feast I ate so much I felt like one of those beached seals in San Francisco wailing in a very painful, over eating, gluttonous, siren song.
Once I came down from that painful experience I would finish with what I’d been waiting for all along, my grandmothers hand-crafted pies. Each bite became a memory lasting for as long as forever is.
I would then sleep in the car on my grandmothers lap with the thought every young child has on their mind after Thanksgiving. Christmas was right around the corner and with that brought a whole other worldly feeling of warmth and comfort provided by those that loved me the most… my parents.
Please take time to be thankful for all those that have passed but leave behind their wonderful spirits, and the love from all those around you today.
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