Sitting here tonight thinking about Thanksgiving past and present and how things have changed. I’m not cooking or baking, my only request was to bring dinner rolls and unlike my mother, I suck at making rolls.
Tomorrow morning we head to my cousin’s up at The Lakes for a few hours. This will be the first without her dad, my Uncle Gene, who was the head of our family. Feeling apprehension about it, remembering the first Christmas without my Grandpa Pete…it’s going to be a tough day, but one we have to get through.
As kids, Thanksgiving was one of the three times a year the family all got together. It was held at either our home or my uncle’s home, the only ones large enough to comfortably fit the entire clan. Back then we all dressed in our Sunday best, the days of dresses, tights, patent leather shoes and ribbons in our hair. It was never fair the boys got to wear pants…not jeans, slacks.
Gramma K was the best cook, a queen when it came to making comfort foods. Gramma, mom and the three aunts would be in the kitchen working away, telling us kids to “get the hell out of the kitchen” each time we inquired as to when, if ever, we were going to get to eat. Those were the days when snacking before was not allowed.
We always ate at 1:00! To me I still feel like eating dinner can’t happen until 1, noon isn’t an option! It was the whole layout, turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, gravy and mom or gramma would make homemade rolls!
When I was in the 5th grade my mom went to work outside the home and when she didn’t have to work, we wouldn’t have Thanksgiving with the Krueger clan and little by little, as we cousins got old enough to date and start going to other Thanksgivings and then get married, Krueger Thanksgiving melted into the past and mom would have a meal just for us. Gramma never liked it but mom would say that Gramma had to realize that the families were all growing, it was just too hard to get everyone together like when we were little.
I don’t recall ever having family holidays with any of Gramma or Grampa’s siblings or their families. I never knew either of my G & G Pete’s siblings and only scantly knew two of my Gramma K’s brothers and the other have only gotten to really know over the past 20 years. Extended family used to not be done on either sides of my family. The rare reunion in the summer was about it. Didn’t grow up knowing but a handful of my folks’ first cousins.
About 10-15 years ago Uncle Gene summoned the family to The Lakes for Thanksgiving, we were all to be in attendance, no excuses. Since that time we’ve been doing the holiday up at The Lakes every other year. Being held at his daughter’s home, we take turns with her husband’s side of the family.
What I find so amazing is that our kids, the forth generation, are growing up together just like us first cousins did. We’ve loved our cousins and aunts and uncles to the point of continuing to be in one another’s lives. Now with Gramma gone it’s three generations running the house, wrestling and picking and playing. Actually, sometimes we do get Gramma’s little brother to show up, so I guess at times it’s four. It’s the best!
As I look to Thanksgiving tomorrow with my loves ones, I want to wish Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Thursday to everyone out there!