December 3, 2010

For As Long As I Can Remember

For As Long As I Can Remember
©Ruth Cox

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. And trust me, Tom Turkey has blessed me with many a memory.
Not one Thanksgiving has passed by in the last thirty-five years without me thinking of, and sharing with another, my last conversation with my mother. Oh, so many suns ago. In fact, a few years ago I finally put it to writing. In case I lose my memory?

Here's the link to my Thanksgiving memory of the year 1975, when my mother was still alive: Practice What Is Preached: Better yet -- practice peaches.

Fast forward with Tom Turkey and me to our Thanksgiving memories of the past decade. The year 2004 stands out in my mind as another I shall never not remember. I was temporarily living with family, trying to get my feet on the ground having recently escaped a domestic violence marriage. I'd "come home" seeking comfort in the arms of the known.

However, the holiday plans of the house didn't allow for my drug-addicted adult son to be present, so I accepted an invitation to spend this Thanksgiving with my boss and her family and friends. Cynda welcomed my son with open arms, as she would again on Christmas.

Cynda was a treasure. Here she is Thanksgiving 2005, her last Thanksgiving alive, making a round of her eggnog specialties for patrons of the bar. She owned Rafters Bar and Grill and I was her favorite bartender. I smile. For the few years I worked with Cynda, I would always bartend Thanksgiving day, and she would have me close up in time for dinner at her home, bringing any of my customers with me who had no place else to go. She was a lady with a whole lot of class and a wee bit of sass to her spirit.

Added to my memories is another Thanksgiving spent with family-by-choice. I'd met Mark and Terry at Rafters and we immediately became good friends. They fell in love with a bartender named Sunshine!

Anyway, Thanksgiving 2007, Mark's mate, Terry, had to work, so Mark invited me to tag along with him to his family get-together. We had a fabulous time! Mark's entire family is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed the spirit of thanksgiving shared with southern Ohio style and comfort. Good food, good friend, good fun -- I couldn't have been more thankful for the day.

Last year, I discovered my Aunt Martha Bell would be alone for Thanksgiving. And my roommate would be going to his family get-together, which would have left me alone, too. Even though I was invited to go along with Scott, I chose not to let my aunt spend the day without family. She was ever so happy to have me spend half the day and half the night with her. And I was, I think, even more delighted than she, for it did my heart good to know how happy I had made her on what should be the happiest day of thanksgiving of the year.

Last week, I again spent Thanksgiving with my Aunt Martha Bell so she wouldn't be alone. This year, though, my roommate Scott joined us, as his family gathering would be in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had a wonderful time reminiscing, mostly listening to my aunt's homespun stories and looking through hundreds of old family photos, each with a story of its own.

Here are a few photos taken Thanksgiving 2010:

Thanksgiving will always be my favorite holiday, for as long as I can remember.

Submitted 12/05/2010