After traveling over 13 hours and sitting in traffic for what seemed like an eternity on the last leg of the trip, my family and I are spending Thanksgiving this year with my in-laws on Long Island, NY. Thanksgiving morning I will be parked on the couch watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade…a life long tradition of mine. It’s just not Thanksgiving without the parade…for me anyway.
I’ve hosted quite a few Thanksgiving dinners in our home in NC so it’s a nice break to be able to sit and relax this year. I do enjoy hosting this event though and will miss seeing all MY extended family back home in NC.
As a child we spent every Thanksgiving Day at my Grandmother’s home in West Babylon, NY (Long Island). We would all look forward to our Thanksgiving feast at Grandma’s. I remember one year it snowed and my Mom saying we would wear snowshoes and walk to Grandma’s if we had too!
We would all arrive at Grandma’s around noon and dinner would be served around 1pm. Grandma was a traditionalist. We would all gorge ourselves on Turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed turnips, pickles, olives, crisp celery, corn, etc, and wash it down with iced tea and apple cider. We would finish the meal off with pumpkin, apple, and mincemeat pies topped with whipped cream.
After dinner all the “women” would go into the kitchen and proceed to handwash, dry and put away all the dishes while my Grandfather would perch himself in his favorite recliner and turn on the “boob tube” while chatting with my father and uncle. Grandma had a huge vintage porcelain double sink. one side was filled with soapy water and the other side filled with rinse water. Mimicking an assembly line we would all wash, dry and put the dishes away.
After the cleanup was all finished we would all sit around like beached whales about to pop, pondering the possibility of a nap. The adults would sit around talking while my cousins and I would play together. Occasionally Grandpa would whip out the Bingo game and all the kids would sit around the large table playing and hoping to be the one to yell out BINGO!
I remember my Great Grandmother would always bring a box of chocolates for all of us to share. Being a chocaholic I’d dive right in.
Around 5pm Grandma would set the table again and we would indulge in cold turkey sandwiches, pickles, olives, iced tea and more pie! I have no idea how we all fit through the door after all that food.
My Grandma is in her 80’s now and has retired from hosting Thanksgiving dinner. My Aunt occasionally hosts it for my cousins and their families and I welcome my parents, siblings and their children to my home for dinner. I don’t do things exactly the way Grandma did, but she has influenced me greatly. In my many travels to Thrift shops and tag sales I have acquired many pressed glass serving dishes just like Grandma’s. I also always make it a point to include many of the same tasty dishes on the menu.
This year Grandma is having Thanksgiving at my Aunt’s house and I am in NY. I truly cherish the memories of Thanksgiving at Grandma’s and will hold them in my heart forever. I know the rest of the family will too.
May you all have a happy. healthy and memorable Thanksgiving.