I’m feeling nostalgic on this Turkey Day, more so since I recently came across some old photos when going through some stuff in my mom’s house in Brooklyn. This makes for a sappy Miss Ciao, so now’s your chance to run like a Tom on Thanksgiving Eve…
When I was a kid things were pretty simple. Family was priority and I was surrounded by love. Thanksgiving was sacred; there was no excuse on the planet not to be there. My grandparent’s table, always packed with delicious food in their furnished basement in Brooklyn, went from one end of the room to the other since we were about 20. Luscious stuffing and tomato sauce aromas greeted everyone on arrival.
After the first and second courses of antipasto and pasta, main dishes of meats (turkey, ham and Nanny’s famous meatballs) and a minimum of 5 sides – artichoke fritters, stuffing, something green, baked yams, stuffed potatoes, and more – were brought out. The Italian bread and colorful salad were always placed on my grandmother’s sewing machine stand because there was no room left. Then the “Venetian Hour” followed…a dizzying array of sweet treats and cookies mostly made by Nanny herself. I remember one year we made chocolate mousse together, which was a fun family activity.
Post-dinner we would sing and play guitars or just hang out and digest. When I was older, we wrote a hilarious song based on my grandmother’s Italian accent after she said she made a “Shady Brook” turkey (replace letters in Shady: the “a” to an “i”, the “d” to a “t”). She still has the lyrics. We had fun and were thankful to be together.
In recent years family dynamics have changed, but I’m still very blessed. Our table is smaller and in a new locale, but it’s still rich with food and family. My grandparents are still around, too. They are treasures so precious that each day they’re on this earth is a gift. I’m sad I won’t see them this Thanksgiving because they’re not too mobile, but they’re always in my heart. They set the stage for all those beautiful memories.
So wherever you are this holiday, take a moment to remember the good times in the past and treasure the moments you have in the present. And have a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving!