Thanksgiving Memories

Now, this isn’t one of those traditional Thanksgiving memories stories. You know, giving thanks for all we have, eating turkey, sharing potatoes and pie - blah, blah, blah.

No, these are tales of funny things I can remember from years past. When I was in college, my boyfriend Mike (yes, the same Mike) once took me to his home in Appleton, Wisconsin to visit his family. It was the first time he had ever invited me to his house and I was extremely nervous. I wanted so much to make a good first impression so I had washed my hair and set it with those old-fashioned pink plastic rollers, then put a red plaid handkerchief on to hide them. (Pudgie used to set her hair on orange juice cans but she had a lot more hair than me). Mike and I and one of his hometown friends climbed into Mike’s ’69 Mustang (we thought we were so cool) and started off on the trip from Cincinnati to Appleton, about a 9 hour drive. We had driven about an hour when I rolled down my window to get some air, stuck my head a little too close to the window and off blew my head scarf. I was horrified! We still had to stop for lunch and my hair was wet and in rollers and I had nothing to cover my head. Our friend was laughing hysterically in the backseat. I sure wasn’t giving thanks at that point. When I was growing up, wearing rollers out of your house simply wasn’t done. Tacky, tacky, tacky.

Anyway, we finally get near Appleton and I begged Mike to stop at a gas station so I could use the restroom to fix my hair and makeup. There wasn’t much begging involved since Mike didn’t want me to meet his parents and family looking the way I did either. I pulled myself together and pretty soon we were pulling into his driveway. The visit went well, except for the actual Thanksgiving dinner which was chicken NOT turkey and there was no cranberry sauce either. Not everyone has the same traditions!

The next tale is shorter and happened about 20 years later. We were living in Seattle at the time and shared holiday dinners with two other families we were quite close with. This particular year it was Marilyn’s turn to host Thanksgiving and even though she had been married a long time she had never made a turkey. Her childhood memories of growing up in New Orleans included her mom rising at 5am on Thanksgiving morning to put the turkey in the oven. Marilyn did the same thing – she went out and bought a big bird and got up at 5am to put the turkey in. We were scheduled to arrive at 4pm for pre-dinner festivities. Well, of course you know what happened – the pop-up timer on the turkey popped at 8:30am, about 8 hours before we were dining and Marilyn was hysterical. We did reschedule dinner for noon, but it was the driest bird I ever ate.

The next time it was Marilyn’s turn to host Thanksgiving she decided on a Mexican menu with tortillas and fajitas and a bunch of stuff I didn’t recognize. Of course Carol and I knew nothing of this plan so we arrived with our sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie to share. Really crazy.

To all of you, have a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving. I hope you get to spend the day with people you love and eat all the delicious food you desire – and then sit down while the men clean up the kitchen. Well, a girl can dream.

Photo from Country Living

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