The Best Holiday Of The Year

As far as I am concerned, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year. It is the one I look forward to most.

Christmas is magical; the 4th of July, patriotic; Easter, a time of hope. But Thanksgiving stands by itself as primarily a family event. There are no obligations for gift-giving, nothing to dress up for, no necessity to go out on the town. For 3 days, our whole family sort of “hunkers” in the same bunker, just grateful that we are all together.

As your family gets older, it often gets bigger. More grandchildren come along and they grow up. Things get spread out. We have some grandchildren that are in college, some that are out of college, and we have some that are just starting elementary school. Yet, at Thanksgiving you hardly know the age difference. Everyone sits around the living room, talking, playing games, and “yes” watching some football on TV.

Usually, on Thanksgiving Day, someone starts a soccer or touch football game in the afternoon. Seven year-olds are matched with 40 year olds and it all seems to work out. Everyone gets excited and also some needed exercise. The adults tire sooner than the kids, and finally everyone retreats back into the house and crashes… just as the turkey gets close to being carved.

We are fortunate that our son and his wife have a house big enough for all of this to happen. This year there will be 21 of us eating around the same table. (All of our children and grandchildren will be there.) We will hold hands, sing a grace and then go through the line for the usual hot turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash and a salad we call “green surprise.” Of course, there is always fresh pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream for dessert!

After dinner, the kids put on our annual skit of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock. One of the older kids is the “rock” and lays on the floor covered with a blanket. The younger kids argue over who will be the turkey who then gets “shot” and falls on top of the Rock. It can get quite raucous and, though the scene has been repeated over many years, it never gets old. Everyone gets into it.

We have a lot of musicians in the family and so the night usually ends up with someone on the piano and a couple of kids playing guitars. Eventually, we start singing Christmas carols and old camp songs and, before you know it, as the oldest, I am usually the first ready to go to bed.

It is a time in the year like no other. You don’t have to verbalize what family means. You just experience it to the fullest for about 3 days and everyone knows that it has been special and that we are all fortunate we have each other. So I say “thanks” for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait for it again this year!

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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