I was recently asked to share my favorite Thanksgiving memory. As I am sure it would be hard for you, it was a difficult task for me as well. I had so many to choose from. I thought of the first Thanksgiving with my family as I brought my then new girlfriend and eventual wife, Deb, to meet my mom, dad and siblings. I remember the stories we told around that table and the laughs we shared. I of course thought of those first Thanksgivings we spent at our own home with my daughters and the traditions we started. I thought of those spent with my brother in law and sister in law at their home in Wausau as we merged our families and the “cousin’s club” was formed under the basement stairs.
I eventually settled on one very different Thanksgiving. It was Thanksgiving on a cold November day in 1985. We were moving into our new home that next morning and my brother had come down to help us pack and move. This would be his first Thanksgiving away from the family we had grown up in and he was letting me know how hard that was. Since the kitchen, and whole house for that matter, were packed away in boxes, there was no way to have a dinner at our house. We decided to go out to Crandall’s, a local restaurant, that was actually serving Thanksgiving dinner. When we arrived, I took the waitress aside and explained our situation. She recommended we take the home style meal being offered and she would do her best to recreate the family feel.
Dinner was served with heaping helpings of mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy. The stories ensued and we were feeling better. Eventually, the waitress slid by our table and asked how everyone was doing? My brother complimented the food and then requested some more potatoes and gravy. With out missing a beat, the waitress put her hand on his shoulder and said “They’re in the kitchen, I’m sure you can get them as easy as me.” My brother’s look was priceless. The slack jaw, the rolled up eyes. The waitress smiled and said “Thought I’d make you feel right at home.” Needless to say, she had performed perfectly. It was if my mom had been there all along.
Ironically, all these years later, we are more or less in the midst of repeating the story. My younger daughter and her boyfriend are about to move into their new home tomorrow morning. It is amazing how life circles back. We will all be together for turkey at our home and we will share the stories that we continue to pass down. Today we will remember those Thanksgivings that have been and look forward to those yet to come. I want to thank my brother and that waitress for one of my favorite memories.
So share your stories and your memories and remember, there’s more turkey and gravy in the kitchen, go help yourself. Happy Thanksgiving 2016.