It’s the smell I remember, mostly. Thanksgiving Day at Grandma R’s house always greeted me with an assault on the nostrils.
The extended family (usually about twelve of us) would gather at the large dining room table, summoned by the 4pm gong of the large pendulum clock on the wall, and wait for the dishes to appear from the small kitchen behind us.
There was the aroma of the roasted turkey of course, and the boiling potatoes, and the percolating coffee. But the turnips and rutabagas….oh those pungent winter vegetables! They grabbed me by the nose and wouldn’t let go.
I don’t remember actually eating them, mind you. Those were “grown-up foods,” unlike the meat and gravy and mashed potatoes and corn and stuffing and green bean casserole and candied crab apples and pears and cranberry sauce and flaky, buttered rolls (hmmm, I don’t recall there being yams at our gatherings….)….
….but of all the things that holidays past brings to mind, it is the turnips I remember most, and the memory of that “perfume” evokes the strongest memories of family and holiday celebrations. My own holiday table is not nearly as….memorable. (It’s quite boring, really!)
As you gather this year (hopefully in small, nuclear family units) while meeting extended family and friends through Facetime or Skype, may you remember the pungent festivals of your past and joyfully anticipate again being able to celebrate together in the future.
And when we can again gather together, I’ll mash some turnips for you. But I probably won’t eat them. I’m still not grown up enough for that!