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Friday, November 28, 2014


Hi everyone. This is a blog post I wrote last a couple of years ago, and I've revised it and wanted to post it here at Once Upon a Word today, even though Thanksgiving WAS yesterday and it's a bit late. I hope you'll share some of your favorite memories and things you're thankful for in the comments section!

Our Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA is coming up next week. For the last several years, I have not “cooked” a big Thanksgiving dinner. With my daughter going to LA every year at that time so often, and my son grown and gone as well, there just wasn’t a need to make a big dinner.

Yes, my husband did complain. Every year. But he never offered to help with anything, either. In desperation, we tried different traditions—the “Festive Fajita Party Pack” from our nearest Mexican restaurant, which is wonderful, by the way; the “Smoked Turkey Dinner and Fixin’s” from a fantabulous barbecue place we love…but of course, it wasn’t the same.

This year, my daughter will be home with us, and she wants “the dinner.” I haven’t bought my turkey—or anything else. It’s still a week away. I’m not stressed, though. Let me tell you why.

I have the money in the bank to buy those groceries. So many people don’t. If I want to make sweet potato pie, I don’t have to skimp on the marshmallows. If I want to make turkey, I don’t have to worry about one brand being ten cents cheaper than the brand I really want. And best of all, I can buy both kinds of cranberry sauce, since I’m the only one in my family who really loves the whole berry kind. So I’m very thankful for the fact that I don’t have to worry about being able to provide the menu I want to make for this holiday dinner.

I have learned to cook pretty darn well. It wasn’t always this way, believe me. My mother was a wonderful cook, but being a child of the 60’s I couldn’t have cared less about learning from her. I was happy with a hamburger (which I did learn how to make for myself) and chips. I learned how to cook only after I got married—and there were quite a few trial and error “errors” that had to be tossed. They were unsalvageable. So, I’m glad that now I have learned through the years and am able to do the job right at this point.

I have the physical ability to cook. This may seem like a little thing. We gripe and complain sometimes about having to fix a meal, but I promise you, one short walk through a nursing home will make you thankful for so many things. Seeing the older people there who would give anything to be able to prepare a meal once more, or go work in their gardens, makes me realize how much I have to be thankful for—even the simple preparation of a holiday meal takes on new meaning.

I have a wonderful family. And this year they are all going to be home for Thanksgiving! So many military men and women are far away from everything familiar in dangerous situations. Families separate as children grow up and move away. It’s not always possible to get home for the holidays. And many homeless men and women have no families to go to.

I have fantastic memories of growing up, all of us gathered around my grandmother’s table, or wherever we could manage to find a place to perch with our plates. We spilled out onto the porch, into the living room, eating in shifts. Of course, the men ate first. It was a huge gathering—my grandmother had eleven children. I have thirty-three cousins on my mother’s side of the family. When we were done there, we’d go to my dad’s side and visit. There were only eight cousins there, but two of them were boys and loved to play cowboys and Indians. What could be better? Another blessing to be thankful for—boy cousins who were just my age.

A good time was always had by all, and that was the holiday that brought everyone home to Granny’s house, even if they couldn’t come at Christmas. I had a cousin, Julie, who was a few months older than I. She was my “partner in crime”.

One Thanksgiving, we spotted a package of six Milky Way candy bars in the refrigerator—our favorite. With everything going on, we managed to sneak the package out, and she hid it in her jacket. We made it out the door and into the nearby woods. This was quite a trick since she had three younger siblings at the time. We ate those candy bars, three each. I can tell you, I was feeling sick when I ate that last bite. But we were so proud of ourselves for managing to get them out undetected and to actually be alone to commit the rest of the crime.

When we got back to the house, our Aunt Joyce was beside herself. It turned out, she had bought those candy bars for a specific purpose—to make her “Mississippi Mud Slide Cake” that two of her brothers-in-law had requested. Of course, as eleven-year-old children, we’d never even thought that the candy bars might be needed for a recipe. We laugh about it now, but at the time, it was serious stuff.

These are only a few of the “everyday” things that I’m so thankful for. This is really just the tip of the iceberg. When we think of everything we have in this beautiful world, it’s impossible to make a list of things to be thankful for, isn’t it?

What are you thankful for this holiday? Do you have a favorite memory to share?


  1. Oh, look, I'm first to comment. Which reminds me, I don't think I was ever "first" at or in anything. It seems as though my younger sister got everything I wanted--like the wishbone when we had fried chicken. She ALWAYS got the "pulley bone," as we called it, because she could claim she'd already said "Dibs on the pulley bone." Well, when did she say that? I could say it an hour before supper, and she'd claim she'd already said it..."yesterday." See? I could never win and never be first. I had to settle for some other piece of chicken, none of which I liked except the breast, and that always belonged to Daddy.
    Trivial, isn't it?
    Which reminds me of what should qualify as something to be thankful for. Sure, we're thankful for our warm homes, even better if it's mortgage free, and we're thankful for our families, even though some fall into the category of "God gave us friends to make up for some of our relatives," and we're thankful for living in the land of the free and the brave...until we see how so many of our fellow Americans are working really hard to "foul the nest," messing up their own wonderful home and space, and inadvertently ruining things for a lot of others.
    Personally, I couldn't begin to name all those things I'm thankful for. It's really an endless list, with no real ending, just a constant stream of, Oh, I'm so thankful.....from the trivial and mundane to the miracles we experience every day.
    God bless you, Cheryl, and I'm thankful you are my friend...and you, and you, and you....Peace.

    1. Celia, I'm so grateful to have you for a friend, too. And I'm grateful for the internet--even though we get mad at it and aggravated when it doesn't do what we think it should, if we didn't have it, none of us would have ever met! So it's been a wonderful invention and allowed so many of us to meet and become friends and share our writers woes and thrills as well.

      Like you, there's no way I could begin to name everything I'm thankful for --there's just too much in this world. That's funny about you and your sister--I never had that, since I was the baby and my sisters were so much older than I was, and my kids never were competitive with each other.

      Much love, Celia and I'm so thrilled that Kathleen (Trinity Hill Brides) is doing so wonderfully! (Another thing to be thankful for!)


  2. Kinda late getting here. We had some family drama and sadness going on this week. My ex brother-in-law died the day after Thanksgiving. My niece had taken care of him in her home his last few days. She was very distraught at his death, so we needed to be there for her. She was his only biological child. I'm glad her half-brother and I live in the same neighborhood and her mother just happen to be home for two weeks from her travel nurse job in Vermont. That is why I have not been cyber present the last couple days.
    I am grateful to be alive, independent, and breathing God's good air. I used to laugh about older people saying they were happy to have good health back there in my youth when I thought I was smart. But I now find that without health, nothing is quite as joyful. We take so much for granted. I am so thankful I have friends who are so willing to be present for me when I need them and a family that always comes together to support one another even when they might not always agree on any other given day.
    I am happy with my life and my freedom to pursue my dreams.

    1. Oh, Sarah! I'm so sorry to hear about the death of your ex bro-in-law. That's really hard. I have an ex bro-in-law that was a part of our family for many years, and it's hard to cut them out of your lives when they're the father of your nieces and nephews. Awkward situation, and I'm glad you were there for your niece.

      Like you, I remember my mother telling me that if you had your health that was all that mattered, etc. and I thought she was crazy because everyone KNEW that you couldn't be happy with "just" your health! LOL Oh, how wise she was!

      My list is too long to mention, but a few things are what you said...the freedom to pursue my dreams being at the top of the list. When I think about so many in this world that don't even have the basics...it puts everything into perspective, doesn't it? So glad we are friends--again, I think God for the internet--so much good has come of that one invention.

  3. Hi Cheryl and readers,
    I'm late too due to internet outages in our region. Living out in the sticks, any extra holiday emails and internet shopping seem to put our local servers out of commission. I am thankful however that we have internet at all, as I have such an extensive online family now. I'm thankful not to be bedridden and that my mind is mostly still working. My Hubby says that is debatable, but he is also thankful that my health has improved lately. We do have so many things to be thankful for -- sometimes even the smallest thing can be the largest blessing -- and I appreciate Cheryl reminding us of this.

    1. Becca, I'm so thankful that your health is on the upswing. I know that is one thing that just makes us feel so out of control--when our health dips. I admire you so much for fighting through it, and for working on when you probably felt like it was the last thing you wanted to do, many times. You are my hero, really and truly--and I say that with the utmost sincerity. Yes, you're so right--the smallest thing to us might be huge to someone else.

      I'm so grateful to have you in my life. You have been such a wonderful example to all of us for so many GOOD things.
      Hugs, Becca!

  4. Well, here I am just rechecking your blog and bingo--I find that my comments from the 28th didn't go through. It was lengthy so I'll shorten it a bit and apologize for it not posting. I did publish it. Argh! I loved your story about the Snickers. Those gosh darn bars get us in all sorts of trouble at the worst times, don't they? Naughty, naughty, Cheryl. But I'm sure you had fun at the time--before the nausea set in. And, I too am thankful for the many friends and family members I have. For my health, though the past year was filled with surgeries for me and a fracture for my hubby, we had nothing that was life threatening. Health and a good roof over our heads, family and friends as I said is a great blessing indeed. I also give thanks for the thousand of military personnel who preserve our freedom and guard us each and every day. Thank you to all of them. And what a lovely picture of your aunt. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh, and here I was just saying how thankful I was for the internet! LOL And everyone's having troubles with it. Bev, I sure hope the surgeries weren't anything serious, and that 2015 looks even better for you, your hubby and all of us health-wise.

      A warm bed, food to eat, family and friends--all these things we take for granted sometimes, but this is a great time to stop and remember all the blessings we have. And believe it or not, I STILL love Milky Way bars--they're my favorite. LOL



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