Chris Burton

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Thanksgiving Day

As I sit here this Thanksgiving evening, alone by circumstances and choice, I can't help but feel a sense of nostalgia for the days long ago when this time of year was looked forward to with happiness, anticipation, and joy at the opportunity of seeing friends and relatives that I wasn't able to keep in contact with during the year. Always at this time we would all put aside our busy lives and come together in celebration. Sometimes we would all say what we were thankful for, and other times we'd just enjoy each others company and chow down.

But now, the family and friendships are splintered; all hurrying to everyone else's homes and hearths with no real center place for everyone to gather and a sense of sadness has settled in. I've felt this way for some time now, but the reality of it all weighs heavily on me this particular year.

In days gone by, mom and all my aunts and uncles and cousins, would gather at one of our homes. The laughter, wine and gossip would flow with such ease that you could go from the kitchen to the living room to the den and not miss a beat. We were there to have fun and catch up on everything we'd missed during the year and to celebrate that we were alive and well. Two 24 pound turkeys would be reduced to soup bones by the end of the evening. Sacks of sweet potatoes and green beans, salads galore, celery, carrot sticks and cauliflower, mashed potatoes with buckets of gravy, cranberries and stuffing and so much more - all of it - was just a memory by 5:00.

And then the pies; apple, cherry, pumpkin, mincemeat and pecan with generous dollops of whipped cream along with fresh brewed coffee by the fireplace was the topper to the day.

For so many years this was the norm, that it didn't really occur to me that it wouldn't always be this way. But time has a funny way of sneaking up on you, and before you know it, nothing is the same anymore. Some moved away; some died; we got married and had to spend Thanksgiving at two places or choose one, and nobody's schedule seemed to coincide. Then slowly, year by year, the once grand and glorious feasts of the past faded into but a memory. A memory I am longing for this particular Thanksgiving. Mom's moved away, and because of my health, I can't travel that far or stay as long as would be required if I rode with someone else. ::sigh::

Who knows, maybe next year my health will be better and someone will have a place big enough to hold everyone and they won't live a three-hour drive away.

Maybe next year.

© Chris Burton, jpchris@JUNO.COM 1998

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