Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving, 2011

Autumn days and Thanksgiving in particular always meant quail hunting at my house. Dad would arise in the dark, load up and head out to a farmer’s hedge row to hunt quail alone. They were numerous in those days and Dad, an excellent shot, always got his limit. He would return and then take grandpa and nephews out again once the sun was up. Again, the bounty was good and the freezer filled quickly with tiny birds for winter eating. Sometimes a few went right to the Thanksgiving table, fried golden and crispy.

Meanwhile, Mom would stuff celery, stir up Chex mix, or pick out a few pecans while we hunkered in from of the Macy’s parade. We kids waited for Santa to appear at the end of the parade because that meant Christmas could now be eagerly anticipated; the Sears Wish Book would be opened in the afternoon for some serious yearning.

Thanksgiving might mean a road trip to Oklahoma for huge dinners, family gossip and ballgames with Mom’s people. But most years it was a block’s walk to Grandma’s house where Dad’s family gathered. Food spread across tables like a scene from a Normal Rockwell painting. In Oklahoma, tiny pearl onions and olives were special, but at Grandma’s it was plump homemade noodles swollen to doughy perfection in turkey broth.

Things change and there are no more festive trips to Oklahoma; Grandma is gone and noodles have never been the same since those days. This year one son will come home, and we will join my friend and her daughters for a holiday meal. I will be free of making a big meal, but this morning I cooked cranberries in wine to take as my contribution. It will noisy and jolly tomorrow, but I will still miss particular faces, remember specific dishes not served, and hunger for days gone by. Amid the activities I will acknowledge that life changes for us all. I will be thankful for all I have now as I nod a bit in my head to what used to be.

May you have a magnificent Thanksgiving Day and weekend ahead.


Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Lovely post, Claudia. I can almost taste the quail and your grandmother's special noodles. I have a few old dishes from my childhood that I miss, as well. Happy Thanksgiving to you and you your family!

Lynn said...

What a warm your heart post. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

Linda O'Connell said...

Claudia, this is so nostalgic and lovely, and makes me feel melancholoy missing my mom.