What will your table look like this year?

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

As we head into a second Thanksgiving celebration that includes dealing with COVID, what will our table look like this year?  Who among us will have an empty chair that represents a missing member of our family circle?  Who among us will be giving thanks to have survived COVID?  At our family table, we will give thanks that the younger ones who had COVID recovered with no long-term effects.  And the adults have been fortunate to have had the vaccine that has protected them, especially our sons who are on the front lines of this health-care crisis.  

In years past, our Thanksgiving celebration included a trip to Ohio to be with my mother and family there.  Sadly, she passed many years ago.  But the memories we hold dear remain.  Like the 10-hour road trip that it took to get us there.  Especially when our boys were young.  We tried to use it as an opportunity to enjoy the time together, but it often would up with moments of squabbles and incessant questions—How much longer? When are we stopping for a snack and bathroom break?  Are we almost there?  

I would also distract them by talking about putting up our Christmas tree upon our return home after the Thanksgiving visit with my family.  By that time, the Sears catalog had arrived, and the pages were already “dog-eared” marking their favored items that would be enumerated on their letter to Santa Claus.  

I remember in grade school singing “The Thanksgiving Song.” It was originally published in 1844 as a poem written by Lydia Maria Child. The original title of the poem was “The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day.” Over time, it was set to music by an unknown composer.  It is an enduring song that I’m sure you all sang too.  When I sang it as a youngster, I could almost feel the cold wind stinging my cheeks as I travelled with my family “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go.”  Of course, my grandmother lived 30 miles away and it rarely snowed that early.  And, of course, we were in a ’56 Plymouth—not a sleigh.  

Of course, a part of Thanksgiving was and still is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The parade showcases a host of giant balloons that began in 1928, replacing zoo animals.  The line-up of course has changed through the years with additions every year.  The same is true about the featured performers and Broadway shows, starting with Milton Berle in 1949, followed the next year by Jimmy Durante.  This year there are a number of featured performers including The Cast and Muppets of Sesame Street along with Kristin Chenoweth, to name only a few.  And then there are the marching bands.  So many bands!  

While the favorite foods are always the best part of Thanksgiving, let us remember the little traditions that add to the celebration.  For our family, there is the post-Thanksgiving meal football game.  And almost always a nap!  But most importantly, it is time with our family and friends that makes it a celebration and create the memories that you can carry forward.  May your turkey be moist, the dressing be delicious, and your cranberry salad tasty.   I wish for you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with many blessings, good food, laughter, and lots of love.

Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her at bbrown@olemiss.edu.