Over the years, I remember when Thanksgiving (and Christmas) looked different for me.
I remember the first Thanksgiving I spent away from my family and home. It was 1976 and I was living and working in Chicago. I was flying for American Airlines. I was very junior, two weeks on the job, and flew a trip over Thanksgiving. I’m not sure where I spent the night, but I remember calling my mother from the Phoenix airport while eating a Thanksgiving meal in one of the airport restauants.
My first Thanksgiving with Allan was 1978. We spent a magical few days in Key West.
By 1981 I was married and, more or less, divided Thanksgivings with Allan’s side of the family. From the time Clifton was born in 1984 until my mother died in 1997, we tried to get back to Lubbock for as many Thanksgivings as we could. In 1987 we moved to Houston so there were some years we traveled back to Chicago. We had many wonderful Thanksgivings in Houston with my side of the family and all 5 kids. Or some version thereof.
When Clifton moved from Chicago to LA in 2010 our Thanksgivings were divided between Houston, Chicago, and LA.
Last Thanksgiving we were together with all of the kids in Chicago.
And then there was Thanksgiving 2020! In the midst of COVID, we had so much to be thankful for. We had planned to spend Thanksgiving in LA with Clifton. When Allan was admitted to the hospital less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, our plans changed. He had an extremely high white blood count and was unable to sit or stand. He was finally diagnosed with a severe urinary tract infection. He came home the Friday before Thanksgiving. The first few days were rough but as Thanksgiving day drew near he made major improvements. It was important to have as normal of a Thanksgiving as possible considering all the factors that made this Thanksgiving so “not normal.”
So I cooked! I had all the ingredients delivered, including a 17-pound turkey, all Whole Foods had left at the last minute. I set the table just as I have many, many times in years past, my Mother’s wedding china, Mamaw’s Blue Willow, silver and carving sets from my father’s parents, my sterling and linens. All the items that bring back memories.
Later in the evening, we had a Zoom call with the kids and grandkids.