Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving, Then and Now by Margaret Ullrich

Yes, Thanksgiving was a day for gratitude.

We went for a walk after breakfast. On our walk back home we've been enjoying free coffee at our neighborhood McDonald's. Before, when we had dogs, we always had to sit outside. Now, we can get in out of the cold.

Our local McDonald's has its own regulars - retired folks such as ourselves who drop in to socialize over a cup. We've been sitting and chatting with people we know from church. It's a whole new world for us.

On Thanksgiving, we got home in time to watch the Macy's parade and the dog show. Dinner was easy since it was leftover turkey with homemade cranberry sauce, vegetables and pumpkin pie. Same as we've been having for 37 years.

I couldn't understand why I felt so relaxed. I remembered other American Thanksgivings we had observed. By the end of the day I was wiped out. Was it just because I was more experienced? What was different?

Of course... I didn't have to phone home.

Every holiday of every year I had called my parents. As the years went by, it became a three-day operation - a day to prepare, the day of the call, a day to wind down. The calls had become more stressful as my parents became more elderly, ill and disappointed.

The latest disappointment was my mother's and brother's upcoming move from my parents' duplex to a one-family house my brother had recently bought.

When Ma first mentioned George had bought a house she said, "I'm moving from a big house to a doll house." She always liked big houses. When they visited and we walked around here, she would point out the newer larger houses.

I hope she had finally gotten used to the idea of moving to a smaller house. On our last call, when I mentioned we were having Bathfitters do our bathroom, she talked about all the upgrades George was doing before their move. She seemed pleased.

But, with Ma it was always something.

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