On Being Grateful
BY SHERILL POOL ELIZONDO
Christmas decorations in stores before Halloween!? I’m no Grinch but I find Thanksgiving to be symbolic of what’s so very good about our country. It’s truly an American holiday along with the 4th of July. A day to enjoy family and friends whether you use good china or paper plates…show up in your dressy clothes or shorts and college sweatshirts. People can laugh, talk, and enjoy a great meal…so what’s not to love about Thanksgiving? We are usually blessed with beautiful fall like weather and there’s no pressure about buying gifts or elaborate decorations. It IS time consuming to prepare a table with beautiful food and I learned how to make Thanksgiving a happy day beginning in the 50’s and 60’s.
My father was in charge of preparing turkey and dressing. I’d stay up late the night before and get up early Thanksgiving morning when he was “fixin” dressing. My fondest memories of him revolved around preparation of cornbread dressing while we talked. There was always corn bread and dried white bread to be crumbled. With giblets, corn, and all the other ingredients and seasonings, the dressing was great! Every year there was a heated discussion between my parents as to whether or not there was too much or too little sage. At least there were no political discussion back then at our Thanksgiving table.
I looked forward to Thanksgiving and having my sons partake in the tradition almost every year at my parents’ home. When Dad was older and not in good health, he finally said he could no longer handle Thanksgiving for the entire family. I don’t recall what we did that year but I distinctly remember the first year I prepared Thanksgiving alone for just my small family. It was a bittersweet time but I did a fairly good job. There’s been some Thanksgiving celebrations at relatives’ and friends’ homes in Texas and various parts of the country. None of them have ever quite compared to Thanksgivings in San Antonio at my parents’ country home…but each has been special.
“It wasn’t easy to relinquish the reigns to cooking the entire meal but I’m getting used to it and grateful for help.”
I’ve prepared stuffing alone but very grateful when someone helped the night before. That person has either been a younger brother, a son, or my husband…whoever is present and willing to crumble bread/corn bread, slice and dice celery and onions, and help decide if the dressing is seasoned properly and, NO, I’ve never become sick from tasting a little raw dressing for seasoning! In my family, there’s only one small discussion about food. I know to buy just enough cranberries to cook for certain family members. I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without cranberries or pumpkin and pecan pie! One daughter in law loves my sweet potato casserole. She’s from Brazil and sweet potatoes are a favorite there. My sons have taken over Thanksgiving planning/preparations now and we gather at one of their homes. Turkey & dressing is prepared by one son and everyone contributes sides and desserts. It wasn’t easy to relinquish the reigns to cooking the entire meal but I’m getting used to it and grateful for help.
I know many people start Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving but you will not find me in any store. I shop year round for my gift closet so I find this boring and the crowds are not fun to be around. I’d rather be at home visiting family, eating leftovers, or maybe taking in a movie or going to a park. Neither will I be trimming a tree! I’m not bothered if others find this a perfect weekend to get things accomplished for Christmas but I want to savor Thanksgiving. I can think of no other holiday that brings back some of my most favorite memories. I am thankful for so much and for being able to celebrate Thanksgiving Day and very grateful family taught me the value of sharing love and laughter and sharing with others I am grateful for many blessings accumulated through the years. To be able to be grateful in life is a blessing unto itself. Maybe we should hold Thanksgiving in our hearts every single day of the year. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sherrill Pool Elizondo graduated from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State) with a degree in English and Education. She is a sixth-generation Texan and interested in genealogy. She’s been an aspiring writer for over 35 years and is the proud parent of three sons and has six talented and remarkable grandchildren. Her stories can be seen online at Boomer Cafe, Bullock Texas History Museum, 70 Candles, Grand Magazine, Texas Escapes, and Bridge of the gods Magazine in Oregon. This story was first seen on Boomer Cafe in 2019 but the website was discontinued and none of the stories written by Boomers can be read online.