Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Family Scrapbook

 Thanksgiving is the holiday built around family gatherings.  The older we get it seems the more complicated our lives become with all of those that you love often in different places. This post might be more interesting for any of my family that reads this blog, but you are all welcome to walk down this memory lane with me.
My mom was one of 5 sisters (she is the one with her mouth open), which meant we had lots of cousins we spent our Thanksgivings with.  It was such a blast when the McCauleys would arrive, they drove up from Rhode Island to our house in Boston. They had 6 kids and our family had 5 kids so it was just great fun!  For years we spent this holiday together and I have the fondest memories of those times.  But times have changed and now I am lucky if I have my kids and a sibling or two....Its not the big loud fun gang that it used to be~
This old Polaroid shows the McCauley boys and my nana and grampa with my sister Ellen at the end of the table lining up to get a plate of food. We always did buffet style as there were so many of us, with lots of jostling for the front of the line. Of course there was always the "kids table", which was a bridge table or two set up for the youngest cousins. I was the oldest sister, so I never had to sit at the kids table, thank goodness!
My parents house had a big dining room with paneled walls and leaded glass windows and even a buzzer on the floor that you could ring to call in the butler (if only we had a butler)~it was the kind of house that made it perfect for these kind of big family dinners so we hosted many.  I am in green next to my Nana and Grampa here, circa 1980.
Here is Uncle Will, with mom and nana and grampa at this Thanksgiving in 1977. Will died just this month and I will always remember him performing his rendition of Minnie the Moocher by Cab Calloway.  Oh what fun that was, to listen to Uncle Will sing and get us all to sing along. Mom played the piano and Will belted out the tune!
Here I am with my sisters Susan and Ellen in the early '80s~I have spent almost all of my 51 thanksgivings with them.
Nana was famous for her apple pie in addition to her fondness for Manhattans.  My sisters flank our McCauley cousins in this shot from the 70's.  Now we don't get to have Thanksgiving with the McCauleys very often any more,  so we try and catch up on other occasions maybe once or twice a year if we are lucky, often meeting them on Marthas Vineyard where we still spend summer vacations and crossing paths.
My cousin Chris McCauley joined us when Susan and her twins visited this October. My little brother Brian is  the closest in age to me.
I don't get to see the twins or my youngest sister as she is living in Kansas City now.  Here I am trying to bribe one of the twins with Ritz-bits. She was not a happy camper meeting us strangers, but I will say the other twin, my god-daughter, was very happy to hang out with Auntie Amy.  This thanksgiving my mom and dad and two brothers all traveled to KC to spend the holiday with Sue and Tim and the girls. We talked on the phone after dinner and shared a few laughs.
 Back at our house, it was my sister Ellen and her husband Mike who joined us.  A far cry from the big gang of all the siblings and cousins from days gone by. My hubs and her hubs stuffed their faces  had some hors' douevres while I toiled  whipped up the dinner. That is my youngest, Colin, in the mirror home from college.
 Son Brandon is watching me make the gravy, the bird is out of the oven waiting to be carved while the ex hubs and sister Ellen are looking down at Brandon's feisty chihuahua Kingsley. Do your kids have dogs that come to dinner or for sleepovers? Mine do! So we had three dogs, one husband, two sons, one girl-friend of son,  one step-son, one sister, one ex-husband and one brother-in-law around the table.  The modern family?
Too bad  Ellen's purse was in the way~but this was one day blogging and photo styling took a back seat. So there are no pretty pics, but it was ok as the food got high marks!

 Colin tries to get the camera on the tripod going, as hubs carves up the turkey while I am still stuck at the stove.  We woke up to no hot water, of all days (!) so I had a fast cold and unpleasant shower before the guests arrived. No hot water was a big inconvenience on this busy day in the kitchen. However my big vintage sink worked out fantastic and I was happy with how functional it was.
 So lets toast to the old days~and the fond memories. Lets not toast to the over processed hair!  This photo of me and my sisters on Thanksgiving Day was taken by Dad, who mixed the batch, back in 1999.  To those that aren't here any longer, and those that we don't get to see.  There were no Manhattans this year at our house, replaced instead with white wine. Manhattans make the cooks job harder I have found, as they pack a punch, so I vetoed the tradition. Sorry Nana! Although I can report that the tradition was upheld in Kansas City.
 I'll be content with the moments I get to spend with my sisters and my cousins and my growing family wherever I find them like this past October with cousins and sisters and nieces.
 The last few years I haven't had all of my sons around the table as life finds them splitting off with their girl friends and spending their Thanksgiving in the homes of other families. It is not so great honestly...so this post finds me remembering the good old days, growing up in a great big family~with fantastic Thanksgivings. Thanks mom and dad. You did a good job giving us a childhood filled with fun times and that translates into great memories~pretty darn priceless.


 
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