Giving Thanks

We celebrate Thanksgiving this week. My refrigerator is packed with everything we need for a meal that showcases abundance, and I’m thrilled that all my kids will be home for the holiday. We have much to be thankful for.

I’ve got three bundles of collard greens ready to go. I have an enormous turkey ready for roasting. I’ve got bread dough, and carrots, and potatoes, and stuffing. I baked chocolate chip cookies over the weekend, and I have three pies in the freezer.

I think we’re set for food.

But what I look forward to the most is hanging out with the family. We have some games to play after dinner this year–the youngest girls are ready for Candyland and Chutes and Ladders–and since my son is in town, I think we’ll put up our Christmas tree, too.

Thanksgiving has always meant family to me. Up until my grandmother, Elsie, passed away in 2001, I spent every Thanksgiving in her kitchen, helping to produce the enormous feast we needed to feed the Mattson family. We used the community room in her apartment building, and we often had, at minimum, fifty people eating.

We’d go through two twenty-pound turkeys, cooked on Weber grills or in Grandma’s oven, along with numerous sides, including a sixteen-quart stockpot full of mashed potatoes. One of my earliest cooking memories, in fact, is peeling potatoes for that pot, alongside my cousin, Nicole.

(Leftover potatoes, if there were any, would become lefse. That’s another post, but we rarely had enough leftover potatoes to do a whole batch.)

As Elsie’s eyes deteriorated, she had to move to be closer to family, and the communal thanksgivings changed venues, some at my parents’ home. After she passed away, her sons’ families sort of passed it back and forth, but we’ve really outgrown one location for Thanksgiving.

Now, I host for my immediate family and their extended, local, biological family. We’ll FaceTime with my parents’ and the entire crew eating in Chippewa Falls. We all have so much family, that figuring out where everyone is going to eat, and when, and whether we’ll have time to visit others, is an ongoing debate.

But that’s something to be thankful for, too. We all have several places we could go to be loved, filled with thanks, and fed.

Peace to all of you this week.

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