There’s a Turkey Somewhere in my Mind

The mind is an interesting thing, especially when it comes to ones memories. Images of ones past floating around inside their heads, places they have been things they have done, seen, touched and experienced. Some of these memories slip away and are never remembered again and yet we are told that it’s all there somewhere just as it was recorded in your mind. It’s just locked away behind some unseen door yet some things always come immediately to mind when you think of them, see them, touch them or even taste them. There are exceptions to the rule of course, but even those exceptions have rules or reasons rather. I am one of those exceptions with rules of their own, and here I sit fingers on the keyboard conjuring up memories from my distant past of things that are locked away in my mind behind some closed door.
With all of the doors that are closed or that have been lost forever some memories just never seem to be stuffed in some corner. Then there are those are the memories that seem to always come out from time to time even if just to mess with us. Holidays are some of those times that long forgotten memories sneak into the here and now and remind you of things that you may just never wanted to remember in the first place.
Thanksgiving Day is filled with traditions that date back hundreds of years especially the gathering of friends, family and food. It really doesn’t matter where you stand on the religious aspect of the day at least where this day is concerned. You see it doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe as the case may be, it matters only that you have something to be thankful for. Even those that have nothing have something that they can look to and be thankful for.
Families gather as best they can in places that are familiar to them or at least most of them. Friends gather as well, much the same way with other friends or their friends’ families and yet they all seem to make it work. Sure there are the less than successful Thanksgiving Day get-togethers, but that happens during every holiday. Who can say it happens only on just this one. Sure putting a long sharp knife in in the mix at the table where everyone is sitting and in general causing friction doesn’t help at all. My suggestion to those families would be to either go out for dinner. Let someone else carve the turkey or ham. Only use the knife in a secluded area where doors can be locked between the user and potential friction. Better yet try and refrain from causing friction until after dinner. Or if those options don’t ever seem to work have something else for dinner that does not call for using a sharp knife. Mashed potatoes comes to mind, the boxed kind preferably. However all in all and I would have to agree or at least I want to believe that Thanksgiving Day is a reflective time. A time to be thankful for what you have and for those that you have to share it all with.
Crossing cultures and intermixing of traditional foods is very much a given in this country. What might be standard holiday fare for one might be unheard of for another. It is this that makes Thanksgiving what it is and has been since the very first one on this continent three hundred and ninety some years ago. It was a mixing of traditional foods and cultures that made the day as important to the people at that meal as it was for the giving of thanks for what they were eating; and the new start in a new land they had begun. Today that continues every third Thursday in November falling around the time that those very people at that first Day of Thanksgiving arrived and decided on settling on the shores of this continent. There were things on the table that I am fairly certain that neither culture was that familiar with yet they were just a small part of the day.
One thing is for sure when you sit down to your dinner and you look around you at the food you’re often reminded of past dinners with family or friends. Memories often flood back of friends we have known and shared the day with over the years or of loved ones that are no longer with us. I myself am reminded of both good friends and loved ones; I sometimes sit at the table with fork in hand looking at my plate shaking my head and smiling over some memory that has decided to cross my mind. Bits and pieces of something that is long lost locked away where I am not allowed to find it except in fragments. That’s usually fine by me on this day especially as I have had some strange thanksgivings over the years so it’s probably just as well.
I can’t say that I have spent many Thanksgiving dinners eating unfamiliar foods from different cultures, but I can say I have spent it with a variety of different people from different places from around the world. I have even been privileged to witness some of the many different ways that people celebrate this day. From high dollar homes to travel trailers and a camper made from an old school bus. From dive bars to fine dining restaurants, to sitting on a curb sharing stories of what grandma used to make way back when. All in all I have met some amazing people over the years and yet, every Thanksgiving my memories always go to the early times in my life. Where I was sitting around a full table of food with my grandparents, my mother and my brother, eating until we could no longer sit comfortably. Then we would force ourselves to get up and walk into the living room to watch television with my grandfather. The order of the day of course was always the football games. With just three channels available to us at the time, one really had no choice anyway. What it all boils down to on this day is that it doesn’t matter where you are or how you are celebrating the day just as long as you are thankful for what you do have and not be worrying about what you do not have, at least for today.
So to you my friends and family and family of friends I offer you this day one in which to give thanks for everything that you have. Memories of Thanksgiving past may haunt you or make you laugh. Just remember, they are not always the bad or the good of this day. They are just part of the traditions that make the day what it is. I say to you to take a moment to let those memories make you laugh or cry. Go ahead embrace them as just the way it is. Lift up your glass with your favorite beverage and offer up a toast to those traditions and to those that began them so many years ago. Remind yourself that while there are those that are not able to be with loved ones on this day, that they too are part of the tradition and doing what needs to be done; be they working at the corner store or in some distant land.


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