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Manifesto Monday

11.24.2008


I believe in family traditions. Like most kids, I spent my Thanksgivings at my grandmother's house with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins--nothing unique or clever even. However, there are special things about the way we do Thanksgiving as a family. Now, don't get me wrong--when I say "special" I don't mean extravagant or fancy--our Thanksgiving are anything but those. Our Thanksgivings consist of family recipes, made by the women for generations. Days go into the preparation of the food. Creating the food is indeed a sacred process. I, who never really knew my great-grandmother, Annie, know her through the recipes she passed to my grandmother, who, in turn, passed them to my mother. Of course, we make what every other family makes: mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, rolls, etc. But my stuffing will not taste like yours, and you'd probably argue that your family recipe is better, and I'd argue just the opposite. Funny how loyal we are to our family Thanksgiving recipes. Dessert, of course, is pumpkin pie--but there is always banana cream pie as well. I usually take one of each. So the food is definitely important, but the thing I love most is the laughing at the table. There is something about my mother's family that I cherish: their humor. This always comes out when they get together. It is inevitable. As we've grown up, and we don't see the entire family anymore, this is what I miss most. We still have the right food, but we don't always have everyone there. Nevertheless, we go on as we have for generations. This is my connection to family now gone--our traditions. Through the traditions I can smell the smells that they would have smelled, I will taste the foods they tasted, and I will hear the stories they would have told. This I believe.
photo is of a Thanksgiving dinner at my Great-Grandma's, Annie Thayne, house for a Thanksgiving dinner--probably around 1952. My sweet mom is at the bottom-left corner (looking identical to my sister, Liz). Celia Jane is behind my mom, and Annie Thayne herself at the bottom right corner. Three women I owe all my gratitude to.

3 comments:

Natalie said...

Traditions are so wonderful and important. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

liz said...

I am excited... we will have the best food this week!

CJ said...

I like this part:

"We still have the right food, but we don't always have everyone there. Nevertheless, we go on as we have for generations. This is my connection to family now gone--our traditions."

It reminds me in some ways of what Mircea Eliade talks about: Sacred Time. Though some people talk about how boring and perfuctory rituals can become from religous, to political, to familial. However, it is the very repetition that makes them meaningfull, it connects us to our past; in the very moment we perform a given ritual we are the archetype, the first event, the tradition is continued and/or happening for the first time. Thanks for the reminder Ann!