Although our traditional family Thanksgiving celebration was a bit delayed this year I feel that the spirit of Thanksgiving should not be limited to a specific day – it should be a part of our hearts and souls each day. Recording our gratitude and blessings even for the seemingly small things can truly change our perspective, enabling us to experience joy in every circumstance.
Family traditions are such a wonderful tribute to our family’s heritage and seem even more important now that both of my parents are gone. One of my treasured finds as we were preparing for our family dinner was a china pattern that I had not seen in years hidden away in a cabinet. I couldn’t resist setting the Thanksgiving table using these lovely vintage plates with the silver chargers that have been a part of family dinners for years. Traditional recipes such as my Mother’s original oyster casserole recipe, which my older sister has perfected, as well as my maternal Grandmother’s cornbread dressing were again staples of our dinner. My younger sister and I were given the task of preparing traditional cornbread dressing along with chestnut dressing which my Mother had added to the menu over the past years. Chestnuts were harvested and roasted from the Chinese Chestnut tree on our family’s property in October to prepare for our Thanksgiving celebration.
My Daddy’s empty chair at the head of the table was a poignant reminder of how life is constantly changing and evolving. We reflected on his life, and the innumerable ways his integrity, character, compassion, and love have affected our lives as well as helped shape our children’s lives. It seems as if our bonds of sisterhood have grown even stronger since my Daddy’s death a few short months ago. Of this, I am certain both of our parents would be most grateful.
A Thanksgiving dinner from several years ago
This year’s Thanksgiving table displayed vintage items that represent our family’s history over the past 50 years or more . . . damask table linens, vintage Johnson Brothers china, a pair of quail that my Mother loved, Chantilly Rose crystal, a favorite silver compote filled with fall leaves, Mandarin oranges, persimmons, pine cones, and greenery..
My Mother’s collection of vintage “Game Bird” plates helped create the theme for the tablescape. I especially remember her using this pattern years ago for a our traditional fried quail breakfasts on Christmas Day.
A combination of fall leaves, dried hydrangea, and holly berries on the fireplace mantel created a colorful salute to the last days of autumn..
What I am most thankful for this season:
- The unchanging love and acceptance of my family
- Family traditions that are passed on through the generations
- God’s faithfulness and timing in every situation
- New friendships and rekindling old ones
- The legacy created by my parents and grandparents
Because Thanksgiving is more than a holiday - embrace the abundance of blessings all year long!