A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving then and now

Well, Ed and I made it through another Thanksgiving - a few pounds heavier, but pretty good nonetheless. This was our 10th Thanksgiving together and our family has grown so much since that first one. Our crowd was a little smaller this year - only 18.

But the three new babies were all in attendance and doing what babies do best - cry, eat, poop.

The older kids (ages 6-8) spent much of the time outside playing with some new scooters Ed bought, having light saber battles, and watching Spiderman. I did a terrible job this year of photo-taking but managed to at least get a picture of the three newest family members.

Thanksgiving when I was a kid was the typical Italian event. More food than many people eat in a week! We would often have non-family members join us and we tried to convince them to pace themselves. Dinner was early, around 2:00 pm.

First course was pasta. Big bowls of pasta along with several bowls of meatballs and other meat that had been cooking in the sauce (gravy to us) all day. And salad and Italian bread. People would eat until their eyes bulged and then the plates and leftovers were taken back into the kitchen. A few minutes later the turkey arrived! Along with mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce (the kind from the can that still has the can marks on it and it cut in perfectly even slices), sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn, broccoli and hot rolls. This was the fun part. Watching all those people who did NOT heed our warning sit their with their mouths open. This feeding session went a little slower because everyone was pretty full. But we managed to do a pretty good job on the turkey.

As soon as we all went into a food coma, the turkey remains and dishes were again cleared. By now no one could even move. So we just sat and tried to talk without burping or nodding off. The women were in the kitchen rattling dishes and pots and pans. You could smell the coffee brewing. Suddenly the table was set again with pumpkin pie, cookies, nuts, fruit, cake, anisette for the coffee, more red wine for the adults. We would dawdle over dessert for quite awhile and then my dad and uncle would head for the couch to watch football. My cousins and I grew up thinking that watching football required having your head thrown back, your mouth open, and loud snoring.

Once football was over the menfolk woke up and headed back to the table where we would play a rousing game of Put and Take. Two dice, one had either a P or a T on each side. The other had numbers. If you got a P you had to put the number on the second die into the pot. With a T, you took the amount out. My grandfather would dump out his huge can of coins and we would all take a share for our kitty.

While we were playing the leftovers started coming out. The table was soon covered with smaller dishes of pretty much everything we had earlier in the day. My dad would always grumble that the food was getting in the way of the game. I don't think he really cared, but it was his little traditional grumble.

Nani Gene's house was small and we spent 90% of the day sitting around her large table. And enjoying every minute.

How I miss those days.


Mellodee said...

I know what you mean. Somehow the traditions of our lives usually center around food and families. When it comes to holidays, this is as it should be. We did a similar thing, ate early, waited a bit, cleaned up, did the desserts and coffee, played games, then nibbled on turkey sandwiches, and the rest, cleaned up again, and sat and talked for hours on end. Somewhere in there we did the wishbone, usually somebody's kids. I miss doing all of that with my mom and dad, and various other relatives, somehow its just not quite the same without them.

Desert Diva said...

What a beautiful and wonderful family you have. The memories you are making are "priceless!"

namaste said...

sounds like you guys had a great time as usual. as for all that food? whew! i am a novice next to your traditional family of turkey day revelers.