This morning, as I was thinking about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I remembered a particular Thanksgiving from many years ago. But to set up the memories of that Thanksgiving past, I must begin with Easter.
A Thanksgiving Story that Began on Easter
When my brother and I were just kids, our folks bought us little baby chicks one Easter. They were really cute, soft and fun to play with. We put them in a cardboard box with a lamp overhead for warmth. With sawdust on the floor of the box, some water and feed to nourish them, I guess we thought they had it pretty nice.
Of course it didn’t take long for them to grow, become a little less cute and quite frankly, more of a burden than a blessing. We finally put up a little chicken wire fence in the back yard and our visits to the chickens were more a duty than a pleasure.
Finally one day my dad said, “Boys, let’s take these chickens down to Ray and Jane’s where they can be cared for better.” My Uncle Ray and Aunt Jane lived on some acreage down near the Mississippi River. They had lots of geese and chickens, so it was a perfect situation.
Now, fast-forward to the Thanksgiving past to which I referred earlier.
Some of my best memories are of family gatherings, especially down at Uncle Ray and Aunt Jane’s. Uncle Ray was my mom’s oldest brother. My mom also had a sister and another brother. All her siblings were married with children so we really were one big happy family. All our cousins along with my brother and I would enjoy running around their woods, chasing the geese or canoeing up the river.
But this one particular Thanksgiving, with all our family gathered together around Ray and Jane’s table, offers up only one clear and lasting memory.
Yes, we had turkey and dressing, cranberries and sweet potatoes (which I hated as a kid). But Aunt Jane made the best fried chicken in the world and would always have some available.
Somewhere into about my second piece of chicken, my one cousin (Ray and Jane’s youngest boy) asked, “Hey, how do ya like that chicken?” I said it was great. I hoped that was the right answer ‘cause I feared he might beat me up or something if it wasn’t! ‘
He said, “It ought to be great, you guys raised it!”
Suddenly it began to settle into brother’s and my mind that we were eating the Easter baby chicks!
My Uncle Ray yelled out in his deep, loud Marine Corps voice, “Judas Priest!! Don’t tell that to your cousins!”
But it was too late, we had been told and suddenly Aunt Jane’s chicken didn’t seem quite as good as other times.
All of That to Say This
So, what’s the application of this story at this time and this Thanksgiving?
I’m not sure. It’s just a vivid memory. I can clearly see my grandparent’s faces, all my uncles, aunts and cousins. I still don’t know who or what Judas Priest is and I still love good fried chicken.
I think it’s all about the memories. My grandparents, my uncles and my aunts who gathered around the table that memorable Thanksgiving have all passed. Only my mom remains, at the age of 96.
In just a short time our family will gather together around the Thanksgiving table. Linda and I will be the grandparents. Our children and their spouses will be the uncles and aunts. And our grandchildren will be the cousins who will be running around, playing and making memories.
I have nothing but good memories attached to every Thanksgiving holiday in my life. Only once was the chicken a little sub-par, but even that only enhanced the memory of a great family time.
This Thanksgiving, slow down just a little. It’s really not all about the food, the football and all the fuss. It’s about family, fun and finding new memories.
Take it all in, every face and every moment. Become like a great HD video camera, recording everything for future reference.
Of all the effort that’s put forth to create a great day of Thanksgiving, let’s make sure the greatest effort is to create wonderful and lasting memories!