I'm guessing maybe 1966 or 67? (After that I had wire-rimmed hippie glasses.) This is with my dear grandfather, and we're performing the night-before-Thanksgiving ritual of stuffing the turkeys. A photo exists, somewhere, of this event every year, usually with my cousin Barbara also in the picture. My grandfather would have been in his mid-sixties here; he lived until he was 90, dying of a stroke a few days after another Thanksgiving. He was one of kindest, most generous people I've ever known, and we were very lucky to have him with us so long.
J. and I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last month, quietly, just the two of us. Our plan was to have a big meal on American Thanksgiving and invite a lot of our Montreal friends, but we've been working so hard we just couldn't manage it; I'm relieved that we didn't try.
When I think of those long-ago days and the tables full of family and friends, many of whom are gone now, I don't feel nostalgic or sad, as much as grateful. I'd love to see each and every one of them again, but they do live on vividly in my memory. Gradually, I'm learning how to deal with holidays without the irreplaceable people; holidays that are different instead of traditional. It's taken me a while, but it's a relief not to have to repeat the same patterns in order to feel OK at these times of year that are difficult for so many people.
I was incredibly fortunate to have a secure and relatively happy childhood; you learn that as you get older. My immediate family is much smaller now, but I feel rich in friends. So today I want to say thanks for past and present blessings, and to wish that more people in our world could have enough food, enough warmth, enough love. It's a good day, too, to do something tangible about that.