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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Winding Roads: Be Thankful

Friday, November 24, 2006

By Nancy Hohbach

It's that time of year when food takes on a life of its own and menus are being planned to woo whoever will be seated at your family table. Tom turkey has or should have been purchased with a plan concocted as to how to get it thawed in time to head to the oven. Many loaves of bread are being converted into tasty stuffing. Ingredients for side dishes are bought and set aside for the grand meal. And of course, the finale of the meal has to be something which causes everyone to drool.

I think back to Thanksgiving as a kid when Thanksgiving was a prominent day in our family calendar. Several relatives were invited to eat with our family of seven. I appreciate all my mother went through without many of the wonderful handy conveniences we have today. In my teen years, she did have an electric roaster which helped immensely getting everything baked.

Prior to that, the turkey went in first with some stuffing in it. When it was completed, she put extra stuffing, scalloped oysters, sweet potatoes and scalloped corn in the oven. Potatoes were always boiled and mashed. While the latter was in the oven, she made her brown gravy and prepared dinner rolls for warming up in the oven.

My sister and I had the fun of decorating the tables. Our dining room table came first with all the best dishes and silverware. (She was so proud of her sterling silver that Dad purchased for her on their 25th anniversary.) The glasses and napkins had to be just so (they were cloth) and Dad always made sure there was a floral centerpiece.

We kids had to eat at a couple of card tables. The kitchen table became a work place to set up all the food to be brought out at the appropriate time.

The day before Thanksgiving my mother was busy rolling out pie dough---usually pumpkin, apple and once in a while minced meat. We had a back porch which was cool and that held it all covered with white dish towels. The aroma could drive us nuts wanting to eat some of it. She also made oodles of dinner rolls from scratch. She ground cranberries, apples and oranges plus had us girls make a Jello salad according to her directions. We always had stuffed olives and sweet pickles plus strawberry jam.

The last thing to do for the meal was whipped cream, real whipped cream for the pies. We then knew dinner was only an hour away. One never lets whipped cream sit too long as water develops.

Not everyone had it as good as we did. As kids, we took it for granted which is O.K. Later in years, we pitched in bringing food. The afternoon was spent watching football and visiting until it was time for leftovers. These are all very warm memories.

The warmth just didn't come from the food but being with each other. That is what one learns over the years. Being with family is great but as some families live far a part, you hope to be with extended family or friends.

For the last five years, our two children do not spend Thanksgiving with us. One stays out east to ready for Christmas entertaining and spends Thanksgiving with friends. The other one heads to Kansas to spend time with our grandchildren's other set of grandparents. We feel blessed to see them year around and have all of them together for Christmas. We will journey to my brothers and see many nieces and nephews. For a couple of years we had folks in whose family had a similar situation going on.

Being with family or friends and having one's health with a roof over your head is what should make the day. Forget about putting on the dog. It's the simple things in life is what matters most. The sad thing is that some people never get this message until it's too late. Don't let that be you or your family.

Choose family and friends over material things.

Be considerate with a smile on your face. It does wonders for one's health. Enjoy the day and be thankful for what you have.