Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving at Aunt Eleanor's

A half century later, the tradition of Thanksgiving at Aunt Eleanor’s each November with most of the Fraser first and second cousins awakens special memories.

Thanksgiving afternoon started at home as my sisters and I donned our new dresses – Thanksgiving was a dress up occasion in our family and we always wore new dresses. The anticipation grew as we traveled the forty-five minutes across the George Washington Bridge to Aunt Eleanor’s home in New York. 

There were two big turkeys and all the traditional side dishes and desserts. My Mom and all the aunts helped with those. There were four tables. The adults crowded around the huge (at least to my eyes) dining room table – I never graduated to that one; and three smaller tables where us kids enjoyed our feast. Being one of the oldest of the kids, I sat at a card table in the living room with my three oldest cousins.

Uncle William (Aunt Eleanor’s husband) always had a shiny new quarter for each of my generation; Uncle William was a banker.

After dinner we would stage a play for the adults; there were always tears when it was time to leave.

As wonderful as the aroma of the turkeys as we entered the house, and the taste of our traditional holiday fare, and the fun of the other memories that surrounded Thanksgiving at Aunt Eleanor’s, something more important lingers with me. Thanksgiving at Aunt Eleanor’s laid a foundation for cousin friendships that continue today. It built a family bridge.

There are fifteen Fraser first cousins; we will be around ten different Thanksgiving tables this year. But for a moment – if even a fleeting thought – I bet all of us will recall Thanksgiving at Aunt Eleanor’s.

“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,…”
Psalm 107:8

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