Have you ever had those extremely nostalgic moments where one little thing makes all of these feelings and memories come flooding back like 50 feet of water barreling over your head? Then you’re just drowning.
I didn’t have a traditional Thanksgiving this year. But I did still have a good Thanksgiving. An untraditional dinner with a new friend. It is a weird time, though, to be away from loved ones on a day so closely associated with them.
I brought a few books with me on my trip. One is Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. I had read it before, years ago, but decided I wanted to reread it like I often do with my favorites. It was last week, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and I was about ten pages in when I got this strange feeling… déjà vu.
There I was four years ago, sitting in a recliner in my Aunt Charlene’s house on Thanksgiving. My family was in the room adjacent and my Grandma in her room on the other side of the house. The cancer once again reared its ugly head, and although she was a fighter, she was older now and after a few previous victories, the villain was making a vicious comeback.
I always considered Thanksgiving to be one of my favorite holidays. It’s the holiday I’ve always tied to my paternal grandparents. I remember my mom baking fresh pumpkin pies and putting candles in them for my Pap and older brother’s birthdays that happened to fall within days of the holiday. I remember my Grandma busily cooking succulent turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and the darkest most delicious gravy in her kitchen. And I can’t forget the pickled cabbage that only she really liked, and everyone else heartily joked about because, well, it’s pickled cabbage… I remember Grandma’s homemade apple pies. That smell filled the whole house and nobody has been able to make a pie quite that good ever since.
I kept reading that book and with every word, I saw another flashback. Grandma slowly making her way through the room, past my recliner, into the living room with the rest of the family… We were all so used to her being the life of the party. After all this had always been her day. But this Thanksgiving it was different and we all knew it might be the last one we spent with her. And it was.
They are funny things.
But I’ll never forget the good times.
And this Thanksgiving I was thankful… for memories.