As I prepared for this family holiday, I thought of other Thanksgivings.

I remembered my Mother bustling around in the kitchen, while I waited impatiently for the first forkful of turkey and stuffing doused in tasty gravy, with a dollop of cranberries on top. I’d help her put the steaming bowls of food on the table. We’d all sit down in our respective places, bow our heads and my Dad would give thanks for the food and the blessing of partaking of it. There would be a round of ‘Amen’ and Mom would give us the go ahead to start. That meant reaching for the nearest bowl, helping ourselves to a portion, and then passing it to the person on the right.

Then, I had my own house, and each year our Thanksgiving meal became a little more chaotic and a little less structured. The children wondered in and out, helping themselves to whatever took their fancy. The organization became more challenging as the number at table increased. And I had to be more resourceful as the budget decreased.

More recently, I’ve noticed the dishes becoming less traditional and more creative. There was still turkey with stuffing, but the stuffing has in raisins, apples, and celery, along with the chopped onions and giblets. The cranberries turned into a mold with raspberries and sour cream. I grew tired of the traditional green bean casserole and replaced it with broccoli or a vegie stir-fry. And instead of the pumpkin pie covered in whipping cream, I served peach kuchen or berries over meringue.

In the last mad scramble I’d usually end up spilling something all over the floor, drawing blood when one of my fingers got in the way of a sharp knife, or completely forgetting one of the menu items, only remembering it when clearing off the desert dishes.

This year was no exception. Both my pointing fingers are now swathed like mummies. I almost forgot the jello mold in the fridge. And the oven caught fire! Our roasted vegetables had to finish under the broiler.  The oven now has an inch-thick layer of crusty blackness to be cleaned off the bottom. Oh yes, and the turkey fell apart when I was taking it out of the roasting pan. It just broke right in half. I’d never had that happen before. There was no way it could be presented on the lovely white platter, so it was carved up in the kitchen. We still used the platter, but somehow it just didn’t look the same.

And our thanks came from around the table, instead of just at the head, as we each took a turn voicing what was on our heart.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope this year added to each of your collections of fond memories. And if there are any you’d like to share, please do so by clicking on the ‘leave a comment’ at the top of this post.