Louise

I must have liked some Thanksgivings as a child.  I remember being intrigued with Mother’s plucking a turkey when I was seven.  We didn’t eat turkey in the Netherlands.

But, honestly, the Thanksgiving that stands out for me from my childhood was when Mother got exasperated with all of us underfoot and made us go outside and stay there until she was finished.  It was freezing outside.  There was nothing to do and nowhere to go.  Did I say it was freezing outside?  Freezing.  I checked with my sister to make sure I did not make this up.

Then, too, my father strayed  from his usual economical blessing over the food on Thanksgiving Day and prayed much too long and zealously. He itemized our blessings like an accountant.  My foot beat nervously under the table.

We never had Thanksgiving guests, nor did we ever go to relatives’ homes for the occasion.  My aunts and uncles all had large families and small houses.  No one thought to rent the church and eat in the cultural hall.  Thank heaven.

My favorite Thanksgiving with my own offspring was a year when I too felt overwhelmed and baked a turkey breast, stovetop stuffing and probably made the mashed potatoes from flakes.  I did make a stunning chiffon pumpkin pie, which if I say so myself is the best pumpkin pie ever made.  Yes, so much better than Costco pumpkin pie!

Anyway, the day before Thanksgiving, Tom and I took the boys out to Blockbusters where each member of the family rented the movie of his/her choice.  This was the rule:  everyone had to watch each other’s movies.  We began the night before Thanksgiving with Sam’s choice of NFL Highlights.  Fortunately, it was short.  Then we watched Charles’s choice: Lean On Me, which we all liked. Tom chose a German foreign film that no one remembers.  I suspect most of us drifted away.

On Thanksgiving Day in the morning, I put on my choice, Raintree County with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, which no one watched, and even I couldn’t finish.

After Thanksgiving Dinner came Jonathan’s hit of the holiday, Steven King’s Pet Sematary [sic].  Believe me, it had everyone’s complete attention.  I remember near the end, my parents dropped by and we said, “It’s almost over; sit down.”  They watched in amazement as this two-year old zombie kid slashes his family to death.  Good stuff. No one’s ever forgotten it.

Ed was on his mission, and I remember musing in my letter to him about Sam’s repeated nightmares.  Ed wrote back, “You let a ten-year old watch Pet Sematary and then wonder why he’s having nightmares?”

Well yeah, but that’s ever so much better than standing in the freezing cold on Thanksgiving Day.

What was your worst/favorite Thanksgiving Day?

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