Seems like just yesterday it was hot, humid summertime, and I longed for the cooler weather so I could put on a comfy sweatshirt again. Most of the leaves are now on the ground, and that crispness in the air tells us winter is just around the corner which has us either anticipating the skiing, skating, & sledding, or longing to escape to the southern states.
As we quickly approach the holiday season, which seems to start earlier every year, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on holiday traditions. The older I get, the more I cherish these traditions, and the memories of them. For me, the traditions of Thanksgiving were even more anticipated than our Christmas traditions. Don’t get me wrong, I longed for Christmas morning just as much as the next kid, however, Thanks to my parents combined effort, Thanksgiving held it’s own special magic. Perhaps a big part of the magic was due to this Thanksgiving kicking off the whole holiday season, which meant a whole month of heightened anticipation.
A big part of my Thanksgivings was having my cousins visit from New York. As a kid, having relatives from New York, was equivelent to having relatives from a very far, & foreign land, and their presence over the Thanksgiving weekend brought it’s own specialness for the changes it brought to the usual routine.
Hands down, the best part of Thanksgiving was the annual high school football game. Coming from an athletic family meant a lot of personal involvment in this game, so some of my earliest memories of this game are of my older sister down on the sideline as captain of the cheerleaders. Later, my brother played in the game, eventually becoming captain & star of the Amesbury, MA team. While my brother played, my best friend growing up, whom lived right across the street from me, volunteered as waterboys. What an honor that was; To be down on the field with the players, wearing high school football jerseys, while are pals from school yelled to us from the stands.
Yes, those were magic times. First thing in the morning, getting layered up with warm clothes to face the crisp New England weather. My dad getting agitated that we’re going to be too late to get a good parking spot, while warning my New York cousins that they’re going to need more layers, or they’re going to be cold. Of course fashion seemed more important to these foreigners from a strange land, so although they looked good when they left the house, the constant shaking during the game gave them an aura of ‘cool’ that they probably weren’t trying for.
After all these years, reflecting on my childhood Thankgiving memories has me recalling more how I felt, verse specific events. Two distinct feeling come to mind as I go back to those years, first, the pride I felt in my sister, brother, and my parents in front of my reletives, and two, the comforting feeling of security of belonging to this family. I, like perhaps many of you, felt perfecly content to be surrounded by so much noise, so many stories, so many different senses of humor that caused my grandparents home to overflow with laughter in much the same way that the table overflowed with food.
So please, take a moment this holiday season to reflect on your traditions, and memories. Perhaps taking the time to thank those that made those moments possible may help you focus on what’s really important during this memorable time of year. In fact, how about we make a pledge to really take the name Thanksgiving to heart, and give thanks for those in our lives that make memories worth having.
Till Next Time…