The Tradition of Traditions…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster …

It seems to me that Thanksgiving starts the “tradition” season for me.

Our current Thanksgiving tradition centers at our oldest daughter’s home where the entire family congregates for the meal.

My daughter usually buys a turkey the size of Rhode Island and we’ll have a pot of whipped potatoes the size of the plant Mercury.

I usually handle the honors of mashing the spuds and chasing them around with the mixer in that big pot my wife has had for at least 55 years.

But I still depend on her for adding the milk and just enough salt to season..

We’ll have another pot of gravy that you could float a small boat in and there’ll be dressing that needed quite a bit of celery to be cooked up.

Then there’ll be rolls and butter and pumpkin pies galore along with sweet potatoes (candied yams, if you prefer!) and sufficient Cool Whip to bury each pie slice with a more-than-generous dollop.

I think pumpkin pie slices are meant to be held in your hand after the formal dinner is finished.

I still like “potato-sicles” which is simply a big scoop of leftover mashed potatoes dipped in the remaining gravy.

It’s usually performed during the clean up.

The main meal is a noontime standard and prior to eating, we all hold hands around the kitchen and dining room and the oldest male (still me!) gives the blessing.

This year the family includes some “buds” of our oldest grandchildren and we’ll consider those who are no longer with us this year.

The Ruble’s Boston Bull, Digby, had to be put down earlier this month.

Pets matter in this family.

With a college senior in our midst, I wonder how next year’s attendance might change.

That is the only constant…change.

In the recent past, we’d all venture back to northern Ohio to celebrate Thanksgiving with Neav’s Mom and Dad.

The menu was pretty similar but the travel often created some special memories.

On occasion, we’d have snow and slick roads to deal with on our ventures to northern Ohio, as well as a sick young traveler or two.

But we gathered and I suspicion that we thougth it would always be like that.

But life has a way of adjusting that perspective.

It’s funny, but I don’t specifically remember Thanksgiving while growing up with my 3 sisters.

I think the Mansfield, OH Fosters sometimes went to the Tiffin Fosters and we might have done a Huron Malones Thanksgiving or two while I was growing up.

Seems to me there used to be a tradition of sorts when the Fosters gathered to have a mug with some small cigars for the “gentlemen” to smoke after dinner.

I also recall a heated discussion between my Dad and his brother over mincemeat pie and whether or not it was actually “meat”.

(The “meat’ of “nuts”, right?)

My sister Charlene hosted a Thanksgiving meal or two and that’s where we decided someone needed to breed a turkey with a Shar Pei.

Those baggy-skinned dogs would allow my sisters and I less to fight over and more to enjoy when it came to sampling the golden brown skin of a turkey right out of the oven.

Now, my sister Charlene would probably dispute this statement, but I thought she always ate more than her share of those delicious morsels.

My dictionary defines “tradition” as “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.”

Traditions comfort me.

In a time when society seems hellbent on changing or eliminating anything old, the Thanksgiving “traditions” of my family make me smile.

But, in reality, “change” is the only constant.

Who knows?

Next year’s family Thanksgiving tradition my be different.

Our Christmas traditions this year will really change although we will still be together as a big family.

At least that’s the plan.

And while I no longer hear discussions regarding mincemeat pie or wrestle with my sister for turkey skin, I do hope our kids and grandkids will find something in our celebration to latch onto.

Potato-sicles anyone?

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