Coming from a large family can be such a blessing, especially when it comes to the holidays. I have so many memories of our families from both sides, getting together for various occasions: holidays, weddings, christenings, birthdays, funerals, family reunions, or sometimes just because. Thanksgivings were probably some of the bigger gatherings and certainly some of the most memorable.
When I was really young, I vaguely remember having Thanksgiving at the Grange Hall up the road from the Farm (my grandparents’). If I remember correctly, the Grange Hall was originally a one-roomed schoolhouse that my Mom and her siblings attended until they got to the higher grades or a new school was built, whatever the reason was. We also had Thanksgivings at the Farm, church halls, a V.F.W. hall, and, at least one year that I recall, the town hall in my little Massachusetts hometown.
The food was always absolutely delicious, a blend of American traditional Thanksgiving fare with various Armenian dishes thrown in, all set up in a buffet-style presentation. There was so much food and there were always lots of leftovers. There was also at least one person bemoaning how much food there was. (I won’t name them but, for the record, it wasn’t me!)
My grandfather passed away in the early 90’s, but we still had our gatherings. Once my grandmother passed away, however, they pretty much fizzled out. It’s unfortunate that that happens so often, once the patriarchs and matriarchs of a family are gone. However, everyone has families of their own and, especially in this day and age, when everyone is all over the place as opposed to being within a few towns of each other, it almost seems inevitable that the gatherings diminish in size and frequency. Regardless, it’s still sad.
Once our grandparents on my Mom’s side were gone, our family had our own Thanksgiving gathering at my sister’s house, often with her in-laws celebrating with us. We continued doing that, even after our Dad passed on and, in fact, they will be getting together tomorrow, once again. How I miss them all!
I have to say though, that we have been blessed since we moved back to Alabama when it comes to the holidays, even though we had no family close-by. The first two years we were here, we went to the Thanksgiving pot-luck our church put on, organized every year by a fellow Massachusetts damn Yankee that we became friends with. Last year, when my Southern Man was living 4 hours away, we traveled up to see him and celebrated Thanksgiving with the family of some friends of ours. They have a gathering every year for Thanksgiving at their home and, since we are basically family after so many years of friendship, that’s where we’ll be tomorrow.
We are all blessed in so many ways. Sometimes we lose sight of that in the daily struggles we have just trying to live our lives. My prayer is that you, dear reader, no matter where you are or who you are with tomorrow, if you are far from loved ones or even by yourself, have many blessings to be thankful for, will feel God’s presence and love for you, and be showered with many more blessings throughout this holiday season and beyond.