Photo by earl53 on Morgue File.
What is your very favorite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you.
This is a toughy! It is hard for me to choose. For most of my life, Thanksgiving and Christmas would rank very close to one another. As I have gotten older, Easter has become more and more special to me as a believer in Christ. When it comes to memories though, I would say Thanksgiving and Christmas would rank at the top. I could easily choose either one and talk about memories surrounding both of them. But, I think I will choose the least obvious of the two and go with Thanksgiving.
Why Thanksgiving over Christmas? Well, I don’t really think I am putting one above the other. As a believer, obviously Christmas means a great deal to me. As I said about Easter, as I have grown older, it means more and more to me . . . that is, it’s true meaning; the celebration of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And, of course, I have lots of great memories about Christmas from my younger years. But, in all honesty, most of those memories would settle on gifts and toys and Santa visits. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this, but I have grown a bit weary (again as I have aged) with the whole commercialism of Christmas. But, don’t fear, I am not going to rant about that!
So, I shall go with Thanksgiving, if for no other reason, I have very fond and warm memories of my family for this holiday.
I remember when I was a child, I would sleep over at my Nanny’s house on Thanksgiving eve. She would have already begun cooking some of the entrees for the upcoming mouth-watering, belly-bloating, pants-stretching feast! The house would spell of seasonal spices and delectable desserts (especially pecan pies)!
I was always antsy on that Wednesday night. It was almost, though not quite, like my excitement on Christmas Eve. She would tuck me into bed, or perhaps more realistically, would say, Timothy, it’s time to go to bed, good night, and then expect me to find the bed myself and tuck myself into it! But hey, this is my story, so I can remember it however I want!
Anywho, the next morning I would wake bright and early. My uncle always slept on the couch in the living room. Of course, the living room is where the TV was. Now, on Thanksgiving morning, along with millions of other red-blooded Americans, I wanted to watch the parades. My uncle, however, was not one of those millions! He wanted to watch some Sci-Fi movie or B-rated Western. (He was a bit of a contrarian, to say the least!)
Fortunately, I had my Nanny on my side and the parades would win the day! Of course, I had to then listen to my uncle complain about it the rest of the morning!
There we would be, watching these gigantic floats hopping and bopping down the streets of New York City. I loved the floats and the bands and the commentary. Of course, as a child, I always anticipated seeing good ole Saint Nick at the end of the parade.
After the parade, I would “help” my Nanny with the rest of the meal. One thing that became my thing to do was putting pimento cheese on cut up celery sticks. I’m not sure where this little dish came from, but it was always a favorite of my Nanny’s. The hardest part of the whole thing was popping the top off the pimento cheese glass jar. I have no doubts there have been many a hospital visit made in the wake of trying to open that vacuum sealed lid!
I would help her get out the dishes, you know the special dishes, the ones only used on special occasions. We would wash them and dry them. We would set the dining table. By then, most of the family had arrived, ready to dig in. We would have turkey and dressing, potatoes, ham, beans, casseroles, the celery sticks, cranberry sauce, ham-wrapped onions (one of my faves!), deviled eggs and who knows what!
I can see all of us sitting around the table, eating and enjoying the moment. It is funny how those younger years always seem so innocent and happy and carefree . . . of course, like all times, they really weren’t. Our family had our problems and issues (don’t get me started!) just like everyone else at all other times.
Nostalgia has a way of playing tricks on our mind and our memories I suppose. We remember things as ideal, almost Rockwell-esque. But, I don’t know, maybe that’s what makes it all so special. In spite of the problems, we can still remember the good in them. We can still hold to those things that are pure and lasting. Maybe that is the true gift of those times.
We should remind ourselves that our present will one day be our remembrances. And, we will look back, and hopefully, remember them fondly. I think this is part of the indelible spirit within us. It is part of the divine spark to see the good and nurture the grace of those times as a lasting memorial.
Yes, I know not everyone is so blessed. I know some had such monstrosities of childhoods that no good can be found in their memories. This is truly sad. I hope and pray for those souls they can make better memories now.
So, remember and reflect. Old smells and voices of those who have since passed this walk of life into the next. Remember the good, hold on to those times, not for the sake of nostalgia or escapism, but to remind us all of the things that really matter in life.
Who knows, it may inspire us to be even better people in the present!