How is your Thanksgiving week going? Amidst the hubbub of preparations, we also find ourselves reflecting on holidays past. Many of us have holiday traditions that must be attended to and others let it fly with new traditions. My personal belief is that traditions are important and without driving ourselves crazy keeping things exactly as they were, they are part of what makes this holiday so special. But, things do change. Sometimes those things are for the better, sometimes, not so much. It’s how we adapt to them that brings us happiness and contentment, I think.
Are you cooking this year? Maybe you’ve already consulted that old family recipe book tucked in with the newer Ina Garten and Martha Stewart cookbooks. You know, the one in Mom’s or Grandma’s handwriting on thin, food stained paper in ratty old notebooks. Just seeing my Mom’s handwriting brings her back to me. She was a wonderful cook and loved researching recipes and reading them over and over again. Using her recipes (I also have my Grandmother’s recipe book) ads to the flavor (literally) of the day. More and more, however, I’m looking up recipes online.
My Mom’s recipe files are filled with clippings from magazines, of course. But, when we search online, would we ever think of adding the recipe to our own recipe files, if we even have one? For me, the answer is nope. I found the recipe that looked good and didn’t even print it. So, down the road, no one will look at my notebook and see that I liked this recipe. It won’t be there when I am not, to mark a little breadcrumb from a special day. We live in a world of ephemera. Less and less is handed down whether it be recipes or china and silver. Of course, we Instagram things – such as how my cranberry sauce came out:
But once it’s eaten and the Instagram feed has moved along, what’s left?
Speaking of china and silver… The other day on Facebook, someone on my town page asked if it’s okay to do paper and plastic on Thanksgiving. And almost all the responses said it was – why spend so much time washing dishes and cleaning up? While I don’t really care what other people do, it was surprising that no one said they liked doing a formal dinner. Everyone considered the effort to be too much. I think this is really sad. Of course, spending time with family and friends is the most important thing, but shouldn’t these times be celebrated with more than paper and plastic? What are we losing when we live a throw away life? I don’t love polishing the silver, but I love the results. I love touching things that my parents and grandparent’s touched. I wouldn’t pass this over just to avoid some polishing and cleaning.
My Mom passed away three years ago this week. Needless to say, Thanksgiving has changed forever. I’d never not spent the day with her. But I can surround myself with her china and silver and the recipes written in her handwriting. And through that, she lives on.
And, on the subject of living on… these are my two beautiful nieces Katie (l) and Libby (r) at Libby’s baby shower in September. The rocking chair she’s sitting in was the only thing we had from my Dad’s mother, Marie, who passed away just after my parent’s were married. I’ve had the chair for years and had it reupholstered for Libby in her favorite color. And, just yesterday, a beautiful little baby girl named Abigail was born into our family. Unfortunately, I can’t share a photo yet, as I don’t have Libby’s permission, but she is just precious and I am in love with her!
So this is the big thing to be thankful for this year. The circle of life continues and I look forward to passing down to Abigail (and with God’s grace future siblings and cousins) things from my Mom and Grandmother so that they will know where they come from and how much love came before them and awaits them.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!