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Time Travel Thanksgiving

Being back home has swept me back into my past...

family around thanksgiving table

“Get these pictures done so we can eat!”

I feel like I’ve been traveling through time. Being back home has swept me back into my past, and now I’m home for Thanksgiving for the first time in at least thirty years, possibly, probably longer.

In the eighteen years of Thanksgivings before I left for college, I’m quite sure they weren’t all cold and snowy, but somehow in my memory, that’s how they all were. Like a post card or Norman Rockwell painting. Only without the horse drawn sleighs.

I honestly don’t know how my mom did it with six kids quivering with excitement and anticipation. I can remember tasks to distract us, because we’d hang over her while she was making the pies and beg for flattened pieces of dough to roll out and sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon. But with six kids, that could be a lot of dough going missing from the pies. So she’d set us in front of the television with the big bowl of bread to break up for the dressing. But I have to wonder if she dreaded the school break as much as we looked forward to it. Haha

In the olden days, school didn’t get out until the day before. We’d race home through air so cold it would make the inside of your nose ‘crackle’ as ice formed in there, that feeling of being free for even a few days making the walk home a happy one. My glasses would always fog up as soon as I stepped inside the warm kitchen. And there’d be that delicious “incoming” feeling.

The picture above was taken before my last brother was born and the house was remodeled to accommodate a growing family. The brother in the high chair is a surgeon, the two brothers on either side of my “gosh-he-looks-young” dad are dentists. My sister and I are grandmas now (note that she’s wearing blue and I’m wearing red—a theme that repeated itself over and over and over).

The wonderful white-haired lady was my city grandma— and one of the amazing women who taught me how to be a grandma. She always made the cranberry. And look at that amazing, mid-century modern lamp by the door. (There used to be a screen door on the other side of that front door, but I opened it in a wind storm and it blew away.) Here’s a slightly different view with our box of a television in the background and there’s my “gosh-she-looks-young” mom.

another view of dinner

I’m really getting tired and hungry….”

I don’t know why I made such, um, interesting faces at the camera. Might have had something to do with wanting this part over so we could commence the eating. Days of preparation would be reduced to maybe a half an hour of actual consumption. Then we’d be sent outside to run around the house until we were hungry enough for pie. Or so we were told. Looking back, I can see now that my mom had many coping strategies for surviving.

When I was little, the days seemed endless and full of possibilities. It felt like I’d be small forever and now here I am.

I’ll be one of the grandmas at the Thanksgiving table this year. And there will be no running around the house to make room for pie.

I know how I spent those years between then and now. I was raising my own family, creating our traditions, and making memories with our kids far, for the most part far from Wyoming.

I’m not sure if this is one of those full circle moments or another memory for the chain. Perhaps some day one of the young ones our table this year will, years from now, stumble on an old photo and marvel at how much has changed.

The holidays can be so weighted with expectations, and sometimes disappointment when those expectations aren’t met, that my hope today is a simple one.

Let’s be happy in the moment, leave our baggage at the door and make a good memory, for ourselves, for those sharing the day with us, and for those who come after. If you want to collect that baggage after, fine, do what you have to do. But for today, for this week, be happy. Be grateful.

Perilously yours,


P.S. All I Got For Christmas, my story in Open with Care, is about family, about what family can mean to us, in the past, in the present and in the future. About the choices we make that shapes us and our lives. I hope you’ll join Genie and I in celebrating family and holidays. 🙂

Cover art

Click on the cover to buy this fun holiday read!