Keep those traditions alive

I remember Thanksgivings of my childhood. We always went to my grandma’s house. I can feel the heat as we walk into the kitchen, all the stove burners heavy with simmering pots.

My dad would usually push open the window over the sink, hoping to share our excess heat with the outside. My cousins were all there, and until you reached that unidentified magic age, we ate at the grandchildren’s table in the kitchen since there was not enough room at the dining room.

Homemade noodles were ladled over heaps of mashed potatoes. We only made homemade noodles once a year, at Thanksgiving, so we had to eat our fill. Although the aunts all helped with the side dishes, Gram made the pies. Too full to eat them, we waited until supper-time to enjoy this treat. We would head home late in the evening, tired and content.

My gram has been gone many years. Now I am a grandmother myself. Unlike when we visited Gram, and we all lived nearby, my four children are spread over four states. The tradition of coming to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving has nearly been lost.

I still have Thanksgiving, and some come, but we are unable to have the entire family like in generations past. This year I will have two of my children and all but one of my grandchildren.

I feel the need to pass on a sense of family and tradition to this divergent family. Whoever is able to come always expects homemade noodles. Like in my gram’s time, I only make these once a year.

Last year my oldest granddaughter, Olivia, then age ten, wanted to help. She mixed, helped roll and fluffed the noodles after I cut them. I believe I have passed on the tradition of noodle-making to her! And I will always bake the pies.

I always get out the ancestor dishes for Thanksgiving, those bowls that are too precious to use any other time. I share who the dish belonged to, and stories about how it was used. Someday someone will take these bowls and hopefully bring them out share stories of my house.

It is hard when families no longer live in the same town, or even the same state – we all have to work harder to develop traditions and to pass on family history. But it can be done.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? What family traditions are special to you? Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Bring out your memories and share them.


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