Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It's a day filled with memories of Thanksgivings Past - something I can't help - something that comes to me every year.
My Gramps was 66 years old when I was born. I always knew him as an old and distant man. I remember he always smelled like "Ben Gay". He had been gassed during the Spanish American War, and suffered the effects for the rest of his life. He smoked Pall Malls and we lived in the house he built on the southwest side of Chicago in 1921.
My Gram - we called her "Nanny" - went blind from Diabetes when I was very young. She lost her leg to the effects of the Diabetes, so my memories of her are mostly of her blind and in a wheelchair.
My Aunt Mary, Nanny's younger sister, was the housekeeper for the priests over at Blessed Agnes, and she was an amazing cook. She used to cater weddings, and every Thanksgiving she would bring over a roast pork, dumplings and sauerkraut that STILL makes my mouth water. Mom and Nanny would do the turkey and the egg stuffing my Mom still makes, and there would be cranberry sauce, which I never liked until the Thanksgiving I was in Vietnam and cranberry sauce was all there was to eat that day.
The dining room table would be full of good food, the chairs would be full of family for the one Holiday a year when everyone would be there, and Gramps would play old time tunes on the old upright piano that stood in the corner of the dining room.
That old house was small but comfortable - warm in the Winter and hot in the Summer. It was home. It was where I grew up - at least for the first 14 years of my life. When we left that house - when we moved into a life away from the traditions and routine we knew there - everything changed. Nanny had died. Gramps died not long after we moved away. All that's left, then as now, is the memory of Thanksgiving in that house, with those people - the smells, the tastes, the sounds and the Love. Lots of that all around.
I hope the same for all of you. Lots of Love, good food, good memories.