Do families still have a kids table and a grown-ups table set for Thanksgiving? I hope so. That rite of passage of moving up from the little to the big table is something that should be felt by as many youngsters as possible. I can still see the little folding table with four different colored chairs. Some families have passed the kids table down from parents to kids who have kids of their own. I have no idea where the table ended up that I sat at during my kid’s table years.
That movement to the big peoples table, growing up and picking your seat in the family is one of those mile markers in life. Like getting your driver’s license. Which leads to nearly getting your first ticket because of that one night you were playing ditch with another car and came around the corner at the Catholic Church to find not one or two but three police cars just waiting with their lights on and your heart sinks and the fun is over! I have no idea who would do that!
The Thanksgiving table, the big one, in lots of homes, is set with all the good dishes. The china comes out of the hutch or cupboard or closet. The silver-silverware handed down from a set of grandparents is pretty but the stainless part of the knives are starting to show some pitting. To me the prettiest part were the wine glasses. The crystal would glitter and when the light was just right there would be colors, like a rainbow. These glasses only adorned our table during the holidays. Don’t worry, as kids we were served cider until age caught up with our desires.
It’s funny that those glasses were not refilled much in our house. Well, not at holiday dinners at least! It was more of a way to make a toast to the gathering of all the souls around the table. Family and friends. Then at the end of the meal the fancy glasses were washed, by hand only, and put back in their designated spots for safekeeping until the next big event. Now, since some folks are gone and our table is more of a buffet so all can get to their comfy seats to watch the big game, those glasses are packed in a box in the garage. Still wrapped in the packing paper as they were when they came to me, several years ago.
Family dynamics change over the years. We get older. Babies are born and grow up to become toddlers then youngsters then young adults then adults. Parents turn into grandparents, get older and pass on. We move around the country and sometimes the world. But when we get together, when that door to “home” opens, wherever that turns out to be, and we step in, we all become those kids at the little table again for a few days.
“Remember the time mom dropped the turkey?” someone will say. She just washed it off and stuffed in the oven. Never even gave a thought to any bacteria that according to “expert” cooks on TV and the internet, seem to scare the bejeebers out of young cooks today. How did we ever live through that?
The huge water fight in the kitchen that ensued while doing the dishes after the meal, when two hoses were even brought in from outside, is always brought up. The laughter rings in my ears. Oh, and if your family is like loads of families we all know and love, at some time there will be something that could be called, “disgruntledness.”
I do know a few people who have gatherings with their families without that disgruntledness. Where all goes well. Not very many, but some. When they get together there is pleasant talk, talk, and more talk. Without any under-the-breath jabs about past or present disruptive events in their lives. I probably should envy them for the calmness of the gathering. But for some distorted Trina reason I don’t. If all goes well every time a family is together, what kind war stories are there to bring up — again and again? Where’s the fun in that?
A good rounded family has blue skies and red skies and black skies in their history. Smoldering coals that get fanned and burst into flames to be put out over time. Rivers of tears run from laughter about stories and memories brought up and enhanced when told over the years.
So go forth, no matter if it is with trepidation or anticipation and lift that fancy stemmed glass to toast your family near and far, hear and gone. They made you what you are today. What you will be tomorrow depends on what you do with that!
Give thanks for family, friends and your many blessings.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.