Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the tradition of the tablecloths

Thanksgiving is coming and there are sooo many family traditions. Far and wide and each one unique in their own way. One of my favorites of my family is not about food really, but is at the dinner table. I must admit I am not a traditionalist on food. My hubby makes the apple pies every year with my son for the meal. He has his grandmother’s recipe and is in charge of it. He has altered it throughout the years so his wife can partake. They are a crustless pie so yum yum. Works for me. Who needs those extra calories anyways of the crust. To sit next to me at dinner you would realize why I am not a traditionalist when it comes to food. (I never bring the same thing. And always want to try a new recipe) My plate often holds just turkey and mashed potatoes maybe peas  if they are not coated in something or my Mom’s whipped yams or squash oh yum). I must skip the green bean casserole (I don’t think I have ever even had it) the sweet potato pie has crackers on top, the breads and rolls make me nauseous as I pass them around the table. I know many who get so excited about the feast. To sit down and just chow. Like permission to get so bloated you have to lay on the floor in hopes your stomach will better be able to push the food through somehow because you are chock full up to your throat. Because of stomach issues I can’t really eat large portion anyways. I have been known to eat a small meal and then two hours later eat it again. Yum. Yum. My food does get stuck in my throat and I really don’t want to pop stitches so my stomach migrates into my chest again. So for me. Life is good. It works. I like to watch folks faces as they taste something they have only had a year ago on Thanksgiving. Their eyes kinda sparkle and if they truly enjoy it and eat it not because it is there, but because they cherish the taste. Their eyes may close or they will pause in conversation.  Many traditions are steeped in meals and food. It is kind of cool. One of the few times we sit down and actually talk to each other and gather face to face in the world of texting and email. And usually over these huge meals many bring something to the table. Kinda like an offering of food to the family and the celebration. Just wonderful.


Our family tradition which means the most to me… We have tablecloths filled with sharpie marker notations of what folks are thankful for that have sat around the table. Every year you read one near your plate and add your own and date it. Some are from friends who have moved but shared a thanksgiving with us. Some are from those who have passed away like my gramps. Those are especially touching to the heart because we miss them at our table, but they always live in our heart and memories.


You almost have to pause when you realize your grandfather wrote I am thankful for my family and it is dated years before he passed away.  And that we still eat and are merry over the tablecloths where he sat with us.  It hits your heart not for the loss as much as the tradition of family. I do think he would proud of us for continuing on. Not that we wouldn’t because we are family. But because we do and he is still apart of that family.


I have never cooked a turkey? Did you know that? Wow. We always go to another family members house and the turkey has been in the oven there. For our son tradition is spending time in the car chatting on our way to the family feasts. We talk about some of the craziest things. And this is usually the time when I bring my list of numbers and we start dialing family afar and wishing them a wonderful day and letting them know we thought of them. Our travel across the miles to be with family. Is filled with chatter with family in usually much colder places.  Also, in our families, we celebrate one day with my “By Love family” and then on Friday with my family. So we don’t have to cram food down and leave for another.  This has come about recently in the last few years because lives change and family structures change and can I say it has prolonged the event for us. And I love it.  I love to not have the rush. I love the time to truly immerse yourself in each family. It is wonderful. Traditions and plans do change and emerge. I love that.


Also, in both of our family sides… everyone is welcome.. if you know anyone who needs a seat to sit at a table. Who hasn’t a meal to eat. Everyone is welcome.  This to me is one of the most phenomenal traditions. It is wonderful. It really speaks of the holiday of giving and being thankful. Sharing food with others. Sharing food with loved ones. And just being together…


Well did you get the impression I wanted to ramble today? I guess I have been thinking about life a lot and reflecting lately. I really love my life even with those days when you just want to scream! And there are many around us who are not in the same place of living happy and I wish I could give it to all. But I can’t. It is just a part of life and living. Everyone has to do it differently.


I hope you don’t mind my ramble… and I highly recommend you buy a few light colored table clothes this year. Grab a bunch of sharpie markers. And start that tradition. When you miss someone so dearly over the holidays and look down to see the writing of what they were thankful for. You will realize they are always with you in some form and that is a blessing.


I really would love to know your traditions if you are reading this ….. I love them all. Every family has something unique. And now I am off to look at recipes… because you know when it comes to food. I can’t go with tradition. I have to try something new!


Have a wonderful day!



1 comment:

Ruthie said...

That is such a great tradition! We dont do thanksgiving over here (UK) but I might pinch that idea for other holidays!