Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Thanksgiving Memories

This year will be my first time to host Thanksgiving at my house. Oddly enough, it will be nothing like what I've dreamed of doing for years. As a young girl, I hovered at my gram's elbow in the kitchen for so many Thanksgiving dinners, I think I could do one in my sleep. The first year after my gram broke her hip, I did it at her house. I got up at 4am and ran next door to her house, knowing that a broken hip was not likely to keep her down. I remember her sitting there in the kitchen as I cleaned and stuffed the turkey, my eyes barely open. I kind of took over the job in my gram's waning years, some years doing most of it at my mother's house (guess I hogged the kitchen)!

Since I've been married, the feast has been a cooperative affair between my mother, sister and I. Somehow I managed to claim the turkey and fixin's as my turf, leaving the pies to my sis, and the dishes to Mom (I claim no experience with a dishwasher)!

I've looked forward to the day when I would carry on the tradition in my own home and this is the year. But like I said, it will be nothing like I've planned.

First of all, it will be my in-laws, not my own family, that I host. Hopefully the burner covers I ordered will arrive in time for me to turn my stove into a buffet server. Half of us will eat in the diningroom and the other half in the livingroom at the card table. (There's only eight of us, so by now you should be able to gauge the size of my kitchen!) Instead of Gram's fine china, we'll eat off of the best Dixie plates money can buy. I guess we'll toast our pop cans in lieu of goblets filled with our traditional cranberry juice. I'm sure we'll pass on my Serbian grandfather's toast of "Nostrovia" which my sister and I purposely mispronounced as "nostrils all over ya!"

But hey, it will still be Thanksgiving. A day to give thanks and for so much. I don't know why it is that not all of our dreams come true. Perhaps sometimes we're not dreaming the right dreams. And look at all the blessings we have which we never could have dreamed about. God knows exactly who and what we need in our lives, and has blessed us exceedingly abundantly.

My sister and I were talking today about Thanksgivings past. We both long for another like we enjoyed growing up. The day began with a festive, yet formal dinner around 1:00 pm, followed by the women gathering in the kitchen to handle the dishes while the men solved the problems of the world. Then my sister would crank out the tunes on the piano, and occasionally Gram would chime in with her rendition of "They Go Wild, Simply Wild Over Me," a song dedicated to her loveable but eccentric sister. When we were younger, my sister and I provided the entertainment in the form of plays and programs, specially written and produced by the two of us. What productions we had! By 5:00 pm most of us had found a comfortable corner and dozed off, until we heard the rattling in the kitchen which meant an encore of leftovers.

We both know we can't go back again! So this Thanksgiving we'll just indulge ourselves in some very pleasant memories, while making some new ones. Next to giving thanks, isn't that what we all cherish most about Thanksgiving - the memories?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Little Old Ladies

I couldn't think of a title for this post. But today as I went to the grocery store, a wonderful feeling of nostalgia and love swept over me. I guess I'm silly, but I rather like going to the grocery store during the day. Sure, the lines are a little longer but they're mostly occupied by some of the most beautiful people in the world, older folk making their weekly trip to the grocery store for a handful of items. Yep, checkout time is slow as they carefully inspect with squinting eyes each item as it's rung up. They still write checks, or fumble through their wallets for the exact change. Before they leave the checkout area, they go over their receipt with a fine tooth comb in case they were overcharged a few cents. Some people have no patience with these folk and to them my advice is find another time to shop. I, for one, enjoy these wonderful people. They've earned their right to take things slow. They're in no hurry and they don't need to be. Life is passing by them quickly enough but they've learned to enjoy the moments. Most of them always have the time for a smile.

Sometimes I wonder, do they have children and grandchildren who love and appreciate them? I have to resist the urge to reach out and hug some of them at times. Today I really wanted to ask one of them what cut of meat would be best for soup (I should have; the piece I picked was really tough)!

These days remind me of good times with my gram. Although she loved going out to eat or to see a show, she was just as happy when I took her to the grocery store. First we'd pick out the fixin's for a salad, and no one made a salad like Gram. Then we'd linger at the meat counter for a bit. She was always able to coax the best cuts of meat and good soup bones from the butchers, having been a butcher herself years ago. She took her good old time at the checkout too, and I used to get a tad embarassed if she questioned her receipt. But she was just as diligent to make things right if she was undercharged as she was when they overcharged her, and she was always gracious and kind.

Not only don't I have a title for this post; I can't think of a way to end it. I guess I'm just thankful for these people and wish more people gave them the respect they deserve.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

One Week Ago Tonight . . .

were you, like me, hoping, waiting & praying about the election results? Isn't it funny how quickly life returns to normal? And how quickly the rest of the world has moved on as well? I mean, just a day later, the top news story seemed to be the Scott Peterson trial!

Happiness Really Is a Choice

As usual, I have only bits and pieces of thoughts I'd like to blog about. Much of my mental blogging time of late (i.e. drive time) has been consumed with trying watching someone I love destroy herself. Last week I had myself completely convinced everything was my fault, until I realized (for once) that's not the case. This person is choosing to be miserable, blaming everyone else for their problems and refusing to accept that they are part of the problem. As a person with a problem-solving personality, it's hard for me to stand by and watch this self-destruction. And yet I think I've come to the place where I understand I can't fix everything. I can pray, I can make phone calls, I can listen. But some things are just out of my control.

Anyways, watching this scenario unfold has driven home the point that ultimately, my happiness is up to me. I mean, I'm the one who decides to forgive or stay bitter. I'm the one who can take everything personally or learn to let things go. I can be a loner or I can reach out and be a friend.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

When All Else Fails . . .

Blame the bloggers! http://www.postgazette.com/pg/04310/406921.stm No matter that the media can pick and choose how and what it wants to report, let a blogger speak his mind on the political process and it's "misleading." Unbelievable. Although I chose not to blog on the recent elections, I enjoyed reading many different ones on the subject over the last few months. I think the media is threatened by the prospect of free thinkers exercising their right to free speech. Yikes!