Keeping the house, the kids and the hubby without breaking the bank, the earth, the people I love, or myself.

I Miss Thanksgiving

Oh, it's true. There is a Thanksgiving in Canada. It's really just another holiday Monday. Here, people are having yard sales and washing their cars, mowing their grass, attending craft festivals (apparently a Thanksgiving tradition in these parts) or even catching up the laundry on Thanksgiving. That depresses me. If there's a meal, it's just another meal. No big deal. Families don't come together. It would be too much trouble for just another Monday holiday. And Canadians are utterly baffled by the huge deal that Thanksgiving is in the states.

It's true --- in America, Thanksgiving is a Very Big Deal. It's THE big family holiday in the states. Families go to great lengths to be together. I wonder some if the holiday's popularity is a result of its placement at the end of a week as opposed to the beginning of a week as Canada's is.

If there is one thing I get homesick for it is Thanksgiving . I want so many people crammed into a house that you're bound to step on toes, bump into people, spill gravy on your neighbors and shout to be heard. I want twelve people in a kitchen trying to use 4 burners on a stove to heat 14 things. I want so many children underfoot that you don't even notice when they've stolen a plate full of cookies and devoured them long before the turkey(s) get carved. I want at least three disputes before anyone has left for their own homes. I want at least 4 people snoring in the living room after the meal is done waking suddenly when the football game is turned off to say "HEY!! We're watching that! What are you doing?" In my world, if there are fewer than 30 people or 15 desserts, it's really not Thanksgiving.

In my own rather large family we would all get together at one house. Everyone would chip in with the meal -- helping to prepare the meal or bringing prepared dishes. We had the standards: turkey, dressing/stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy (usually mom made this -- I still can't make it!), a couple different cranberry sauces, succotash, cottage cheese and pineapples suspended in extra-jiggly green Jello, several pumpkin pies and usually a cheesecake or two, along with whatever new recipes someone wanted to try out. One year I was responsible for bringing the succotash (which is baby green lima beans and corn in a milk and butter sauce). I had never purchased this. I had never prepared it. Much to several people's horror, I showed up with mature (white, large, dry) lima beans and frozen corn and nearly ruined the meal!

Many years ago, my father started the tradition of sending around a stenographers notebook to have everyone write down what they were thankful for. There were just too many people to simply announce our gratitude at the table. Gaining full attention from this crowd would have been as easy as keeping my oldest brother out of the turkey later that night! The item most frequently expressed on those pages was family. While my family -- like every family -- has its quirks, I surely am thankful for them. I deeply miss this ritual of excess. Along with the overabundance of gastronomical delights, our homes were filled to bursting with merriment, fellowship, laughter, noise, and especially love. How could I not miss it and all of us together?

We haven't gotten together for Thanksgiving since 2003. It was my father's last Thanksgiving. I don't know whether he was the glue that held this family's traditions together or if the pain of his loss is still so acutely felt that a family gathering would renew that soul-scaring grief. It's true, we are scattered about the world a bit, but I think we could do it. I'm in Canada, my brother's in Colorado, two sisters in Pennsylvania, Mom and oldest brother are in southern Ohio, nephews in various states. I still think we could manage, though we probably need to start planning now.


Bonny 3:14 PM  

I miss Thanksgiving too! This is my second one not in the States, and I'm not used to it yet. Hopefully, you can get a American Thanksgiving next year. (Oh, and me too!)

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About This Blog

Saving money. Saving graces. Raising children, husbands and, sometimes, cats. Laughing. Living. Thinking. Doing. Life in the Niagara Region of Ontario.

About Me

I am a happily married woman with four children and various cats and kittens (fosters). I love to read and my favourite authors are George RR Martin, Thomas Hardy, Raymond Carver, PD James, Kurt Vonnegut, J. K. Rowling, and Margaret Atwood. I know there are only three women in that list (and none of them American), so if you'd like to suggest some I'm willing to give them a shot! And yes, I am an American living in Canada. (Hence the nick -- CannedAm.) I like it here. There are things about the states that I miss, but my love is here and this country has things to offer that my own does not. Things that make my quality of life much better than it ever was in Ohio. Guess I'm stuck here. Though there's a nice spot in the Appalachian hills where I'd love to spend my retirement.

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