A Writer's Ramblings…

November 25, 2009

Truly Giving Thanks

Filed under: Uncategorized — barbaratoombs @ 8:10 pm

Although I suppose a blog called “Writer’s Ramblings” should be about various aspects of writing, I’m using a technique called “literary license” today to write about something on my mind that doesn’t really relate to writing at all.

I am writing this on a plane, headed to Florida, for what we fondly call our “cousinal” Thanksgiving celebration.  This annual weeklong festivity began just over 10 years ago, I believe, and a different cousin in a different state hosts each year.  The year it officially began, I didn’t attend, because I lived in England at the time.  I was thankful, however, to know that my father, who lived in Florida (where it was being held that year) did attend—particularly because my mother had died a few months earlier.  I was happy he had family around to be with at that time.

The annual get-together grew and grew, moving around from Maine and Arizona to Michigan and Chicago, depending on which cousin was hosting that particular year.  With it, new traditions have evolved—such as unique take-home place settings (often with each participant’s name on them), the triumphant de-boning of the turkey, a fun-filled day of baking on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving followed by a dinner out, the Turkey Day meal itself, and a “theme” dinner of some sort the next day.

The first year I attended was when my cousin in Arizona, where I now live, hosted the event.  Recently divorced, and realizing that my children were spending the holiday with their father that year, I was thankful to have somewhere to go—and family to spend it with. I had a blast, and I was hooked.  The next time I attended (two years later), it was with the new man in my life and his daughter, who were wholly embraced by my wonderful extended family, and the event became a favorite of theirs every year, too.

We’ve lost some family members along the way, and gained new ones.  But each Thanksgiving, as we come together, we share that blood-is-thicker-than-water bond that is so special.  We give thanks for what we have, that we are together, and remember those who are no longer with us. It is a particularly special time for me. I lived overseas for more than a decade, and during that time I tried to tutor my foreign friends in the traditions of this wonderful holiday that doesn’t rely on gifts and tinsel, but rather on simply giving thanks for what we have.  Although they humored me, they didn’t really “get it.” Thanksgiving is truly a holiday that is uniquely American, and I am proud that we celebrate it the way we do.  So I raise a glass to America, to Thanksgiving, and to family—long may the tradition continue.  Now…will somebody please pass the cranberry sauce?



  1. Very nice Barbara, as a child you don’t quite understand what it all means… As we get older and learn how to be thankful for what used to be handed to us… And now for me I have many reasons to be thankful all year round. Great husband, kids, and friends… Who could ask for more:)

    Comment by Mindy Castillo — November 26, 2009 @ 10:55 am | Reply

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