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Reflecting on the Holidays

Grateful for Traditions, New and Old

“Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go; The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifting snow.”

This familiar song is the song I always think of when I think of the holiday, Thanksgiving. The poem that the song originated from, shows that the author’s words were actually “to grandfather’s house”.

Another classic reminder of Thanksgiving is a Norman Rockwell painting where the Grandmother is presenting turkey, cooked to perfection, to loved ones gathered around the table. Norman Rockwell named his art “Freedom From Want” and depicts a Grandpa at the head of the table with children and grandchildren happily talking with each other. There are no cell phones in the painting.

We are headed into the holiday of Thanksgiving and Christmas is not far behind for those of us who are concerned with getting a jump on purchasing the perfect gifts. These two special times involve gathering and being thankful.

I have pilgrim hats and feathered headdresses in storage that my children made with construction paper, in elementary school, for their ‘First Thanksgiving’ programs.

As the trees change colors and dot the countryside with reds and yellows, I pull out the scarves and gloves to get ready for the chilly weather. So starts the conversation with my family near and far, figuring out where we are going to gather for these impending glorious holidays.

Growing up on the ranch, I remember my mom in the kitchen all day on Thanksgiving. We had a tradition of watching the New York Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade first thing in the morning on TV, and it’s still something I do. The good China and the silver adorned our farmhouse table with a lace tablecloth underneath. Depending on who our company was, a children’s table was added at the end of the adult table.

After I got married, the lace tablecloth went by the wayside, and instead of my mom, it’s my husband that spends all day in the kitchen. Traditionally, he always prepares a huge vegetable tray for us to nibble on as the turkey basks in the oven. The vegetable tray is his signature treat that we all look forward to. Complete with artichoke hearts, black and green olives, cherry tomatoes, hearts of Palm, celery, carrots, pickles, cheese, and the list goes on.

Perhaps the best part of Thanksgiving dinner, though, is the leftovers. My favorite is a dish my aunt introduced, turkey stroganoff.

My mother-in-law was a really good cook and I have to give her kudos for raising my husband who loves to cook. I remember her homemade rolls and pecan pie, which have made it into our traditional feast as well. Pumpkin pie is a staple, complete with homemade whip cream that is flavored with toffee nut flavoring, using our N20 cartridge gourmet whipper.

As we grow up and out of the house, and create our families, we all create traditions. They can be as small as making caramel toast or as big as bi-annual reunions where loved ones trek across the country to get together.

Establishing traditions in families creates a bond that develops from feelings of belonging to something special. Our family has a tradition of quoting movie lines and guessing which movie. Favorite movies we quote are Napoleon Dynamite, Vegas Vacation and Christmas Vacation, and so many other great flicks.

This Fall, I was really looking forward to a lot of activities we traditionally do in September and October. However, I broke my ankle which, as you might guess, put a hold on a lot of them. It prevented me from going to see my grandson in L.A., attending the pumpkin patch in Bismarck, a reunion in Arizona, and several other fall festivities.

When people asked me how I broke it, I responded that I messed up on a 360 flip with my skateboard. It sounded so much cooler than missing a step.

At first, I thought it was just a sprain. It felt exactly like the bad sprain I got when I was a junior in high school. So, I walked on it for a week. Wrapping it and icing it continually

wasn’t really working. I was FaceTiming my daughter and her prodding was relentless to go to the doctor. So I did and much to my surprise, the doctor came in and said, “Well, you broke your ankle.”

The next 6 weeks in a cast, then a boot, was the verdict. Before my “skateboard” accident, I had just told someone that time was flying by. After I got my cast on, time suddenly came to a screeching halt. I heard every tick of the clock. Every minuscule task became a challenge and I found myself looking for elevators and sloped entrances on sidewalks. I saw the world in a glimpse of what mobility challenged people go through. I understand the plight for our world being accessible to everyone.

The good news is that I get my foot back a couple weeks before Thanksgiving! Something huge to be thankful for and needless to say, breaking a bone is a tradition I’m not planning on keeping.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Written by Gloria Hart

Gloria Hart

Gloria lives in Dickinson, ND and lives her life with a grateful
heart and is blessed with three grandchildren.

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