With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to share a fun little story about my childhood memories of Thanksgiving. I know it's lengthy, but I had to get it all in. :)
When the holidays come around, I often reflect back to my childhood. I have many wonderful memories from my youth, like dressing up as a pink dragon on Halloween or singing on stage in the Christmas Eve program, but one of my fondest memories is of Thanksgiving at my Grandma and Grandpa Frei’s house. It was almost like clockwork on Thanksgiving; our family did the same thing each year and I looked forward to it.
My grandparent’s house was a small, old brick home, with steps leading up to the door on two sides with a small patio between the sets. The screen door spring was always broken, so it made a loud slam as it shut behind us. Once inside, you would find the same scene year after year; my grandma busy stirring the steamy homemade chicken noodle soup and my grandpa carving the turkey on the other side of the kitchen. The dishes clanked as my aunts, parents, and cousins worked quickly and closely in the tiny kitchen. Knowing I would just be in the way, I would retreat through the small hallway to the family room.
The family room was about the size of a normal master bedroom. It had one large window that extended the whole length of one wall. On the opposite wall was a white brick fireplace with a large mirror over the mantel- which typically held many photographs of our family. I usually settled down on the big brown couch under the window to pass the time, glancing out at the cars going by and yelling “slug bug green” or whatever color went by. Around the room, my cousins would be visiting about the same old fishing stories, my brothers arguing over the same TV remote, and the sound of a football game was always blaring in the background.
After a while, everyone would start to move from the kitchen to the living room where the huge Thanksgiving table was set. It was made up of two long banquet tables with a white tablecloth over top. The dishes were already set and pretty pink flowers graced the centerpieces. Everyone took a seat as my Grandpa stood at the head of the table. He always offered a few words of appreciation for his family and tears filled his eyes. I realize now what moved him to tears, having children of my own, and I appreciate the love he showed for his family.
Traditionally our first course was my grandma’s homemade chicken noodle soup. Days before thanksgiving, we would tip-toe down the long, narrow hallway- which wasn’t easy with old squeaky wood floors- to the bedroom in the back of the house. The stacks of dried noodles were on a towel on top of a big pink bed. We would sneak over and eat some noodles, giggling all the while at our mischievousness. It wouldn’t be long and we’d hear footsteps down the hall and the door creak open. My grandma would be standing in the doorway, telling us “no more” or there wouldn’t be any left for Thanksgiving. Although the noodles were good and crunchy uncooked, the rich smell and the salty taste of the cooked noodles was much better. To this very day whenever I see or smell them, I always think of Thanksgiving.
As the noodle bowls were cleared away, you could hear the bustle of the other dishes moving around the table, the clanking of the silverware against the plates, and the quiet conversations. It wasn’t long, however, before people were out of their seats and moving plates back to the kitchen. The TV got louder and the conversations always followed.
While dinner dishes were put away, dessert dishes came out. Warm apple pie, pumpkin pie, and cinnamon took over all other scents in the room, like someone had lit the best smelling candles and set them right under our noses. Apple pie was my favorite. The apples were grown from our own trees so they always tasted sweet and delicious. The pie had just a pinch of cinnamon and on my piece sat a huge glob of sweet whipping cream. This was better than any candy or chocolate.
The desserts remained on the table while we settled into some family activities. Four of us would gather on the brown shaggy floor to play a game of Rook. It was my favorite card game and I looked forward to playing it every year. The game would pause several times as players got up to get more desserts from the table and eventually they would get preoccupied with something else.
Eventually, the evening would come to a close. The metal chairs would be folded against the wall and the table legs would make a loud snap against the top. It was time to go home. My grandma would insist we take home the leftover desserts as she piled several pieces all on one plate. The screen door would slam behind us on our way out.
Thanksgiving at my grandma and grandpa’s house is a vivid memory even in my older years. To others, it may seem like an ordinary event, but to me, it is a treasured memory full of emotion and love. I know I will never forget the many Thanksgiving’s spent in that little house with a lot of love.
Thanks for reading this lengthy story with me. :) I am thankful for so much... My Family. My Friends. And my Savior. I couldn't be where I am without them. I hope this Thanksgiving, you can reflect back on some wonderful memories of your childhood and be thankful for all you have been given.
And for reading my story, I am offering a set of Fall Trees as a Freebie!
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