This season is so necessary and so healthy. We should all be grateful for the idea of Thanksgiving. It is so healing and beneficial for the world. If you are breathing, you are probably thankful. Besides that this holiday does not require presents, greeting cards, long church services or even elaborate decorations. Just food. It is traditionally a feast day. The reason for the feasting is gratitude. What could be better? There is so much to be thankful for.
When going to pilates class, walking from my car to the market, or paying for my groceries, gratitude washes over me. It is wonderful to be able to walk up those stairs to the Pilates studio. It is even more wonderful to be able to do most of what is asked of me during the class. And afterward, my body feels delightfully regenerated.
Just being able to get out of my car, which is parked in a normal parking space, (not one for handicapped) makes me grateful. Many do not have that luxury. This morning, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, several people I watched going into the market did so with much more difficulty. Gratitude is a motivator, and it was a pleasure doing the shopping.
Then as I picked up a pound of ground beef, actually it was ground chuck, my eyes seemed to deceive me when looking at the price. $7.99 per pound. Really? It was 69 cents a pound when I first began to shop as a bride in 1961. Bread was 25 cents a loaf, and cabbage was 11 cents per head.
So being able to pay for the groceries was marvelous. But I only bought one pound instead of two of the pricey ground chuck. It is Thanksgiving. So it felt less horrible about the prices. This is a holiday. I will be spending the Thanksgiving feast with relatives and don’t have to do it all myself. However, I bought a small turkey to cook here so that there will be leftovers in my house for grandkids who stop by. It is tradition.
The first time I went to a Matheson Thanksgiving I was a teenager, dating Charley whom I later married. His grandparents had the entire family plus grandchildren and a couple of extra people who didn’t have big families. We were all welcome. And right then, I decided that I wanted to carry on that tradition one day.
When his Grandparents decided to move to their Florida house earlier in the season, my parents-in-law took over. They had Thanksgiving for the whole family for years and years until their last time when they were both 94 years old.They died the following December.
How wonderful those parties were. We all liked each other, and the days were fun for all ages. There were some obstacles to be overcome. There was the one we called Uncle Evil, who leared at the young wives. And like the Aunt who was so intrusive when talking to us that she was literally in our space, in our faces. One time I kept backing up as she spoke. We ended up going all the way around the dining room table with me walking backward. She talked steadily the entire time taking a step forward for everyone I took back. We laughed about that for years afterward.
Some great adventures have accompanied Thanksgivings in the past. There was the exciting one where the dogs got in a fight and I got bitten in the face trying to save the smaller one. (The dog was saved, and healed after 1000s of dollars in vet bills.) Then there was the Thanksgiving where it snowed two feet unexpectedly and we were stuck at home. Lucky for all of us we did not lose our electricity and I had a turkey which I was able to cook for just our family. That was a true disaster for some people. But we were fine, just unable to travel even up our driveway.
Sometimes children were traveling to other countries, or eating with in laws somewhere else, but mostly they really made and effort to get home for this holiday. And they still do.
When covid hit and people were socially distancing and told not to gather, we disobeyed. We had thirty people for a beautiful outdoor luncheon that day. It was 73 degrees in Virginia in 2020. And by the way, no one got sick!
The family grew and children were born, grew up, brought home friends, married them, then began their own families. There are five children and 17 grandchildren in our branch of the family. With their spouses and boyfriends or girls friends it can grow to a large number. This is wonderful and hopeful for the future. We will go on to produce more intelligent, well mannered, and talented people. Another thing to be grateful for.
Of course the one who is giving one of these events is also tasked with getting it all organized and ready. Not an easy assignment. When my parents in law were the party givers for almost 40 years, the group grew to around 65. When they died within a week of each other in 2007, we began to peel off into individual family branches. These grew larger every year. In the intervening 15 years our branch has had more children, several marriages and serious boyfriends and girlfriends. We have grown a lot.
Now it is my turn to be a guest again, and it makes me happy to see my oldest son and my daughter in law taking over the tradition this year. She is including family members who are in-laws of her sister in law, girlfriends, boyfriends and perhaps some people I do not know about yet.
Every day is Thanksgiving in my heart. This is my favorite holiday of all.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Copyright©. 2022 Bonnie B. Matheson