Time to Create a New Tradition?
On Thanksgiving morning I got up at 6:15 am to sauté celery and onions in a pound of butter, the start of my tried-and-true Thanksgiving morning ritual. The fresh turkey was stuffed and in the oven by 7:15 am. I crawled back in bed at 7:18 am and got up “for real” a couple hours later, refreshed and ready to complete the rest of my annual Thanksgiving Day preparations.
I always loved Thanksgiving; it was my favorite holiday of all. I loved to cook for extended family. I took over cooking duties (and the traditional menu) from our Mom more than 20 years ago. My three sisters and their families came to eat and laugh and talk. My parents often slept overnight. Sometimes out-of-town aunts and uncles made the drive from PA or OH and spent the weekend with us. It was crowded. It was fun. It was family.
Over the past few years the number of people around our Thanksgiving Day table has dwindled. My youngest sister Lori relocated to AZ years ago and has only been able to return once to celebrate the season with us. A few years ago my Dad passed away, and before that first Thanksgiving, our Mom relocated to AZ. A couple years ago my sister Linda died. My adult nieces and nephews do their own things. And the far-off relatives celebrate closer to home now.
Sitting around the table this year were 8 people: my family of 4, my father-in-law Ken and his girlfriend Alice, and my sister Cindy and her husband Bid. We had a great time, relaxed, happy, laughing, and thankful to be together. That wasn’t the point though.
After some bantering back and forth my sister and I talked about our dwindling numbers and long-held traditional meal. I don’t think I’m overstating it to say that Cindy and I feel like we’ve been maintaining a tradition for an extended family that is . . . primarily . . . gone from this place. We think we are ready to create what could become a new Thanksgiving tradition that better suits us, our husbands, and my kids. We have decided to celebrate Thanksgiving 2011 together somewhere besides around my dining room table. In a place where the sun shines and the ocean beckons.
Will we do it?