Thursday, November 22, 2012

Full of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is always tough for me. It's the holiday my sister and I spent together — long distance. Me on the east coast and she on the west. Back and forth all day we'd call each other. After my turkey was in for a few hours she'd be up and putting in hers. When my turkey was done and we were getting ready to eat, her company would just be having appetizers. By the time my company went home — stuffed to the gills with all those carbohydrates — she'd be putting out the desserts and by the time her guests had left, I'd be finished cleaning up and ready to rehash the day.  Though 3000 miles separated us, I always felt she was with me. and now I don't.

Here is this year's menu — which is pretty much last year's menu, and the year before:

Turkey & gravy 
sausage stuffing (not me)
corn pudding  
peas (not me)
Picture-perfect, Not mine. 
green beans (not me)
mashed potatoes (not me)
creamed onions w/almonds 
cranberry-orange relish 

Pecan pie (not me)
Sweet potato pie (not me)
Caramel pumpkin ring 
   & Whipped cream for all

You had to hand it to my sister.  Her Thanksgivings (and Christmases) were shared with her ex, his two boys from a subsequent failed marriage and, at times, the girlfriend of the year.  My sister opened her doors, her table, and her arms to anyone she considered "family," and her family-network was wide.  She got along with her three sets of in-laws — she loved old people.  She loved our parents.  She was talented and funny, smart and generous-hearted.  Far more generous and forgiving than me — than I am, or will ever be.

I can't think of a time when I reached out to my sister that she didn't come through for me and oh-so-many times she came through when I never even asked.   Just when I was about to start 8th grade, we moved.  I was headed into a school where everyone knew everyone, for ever.   Sensing my anxiousness about it all, my sister spent her own money and bought me two Villager outfits to help me fit in.  An A-line skirt (lined, with a side-zipper) with matching cardigan (buttons on a strip of grosgrain ribbon). One set in heather mauve and the other in heather blue. (From Wikipedia: In clothing, heather refers to interwoven yarns of mixed colors producing muted greyish shades with flecks of color (e.g., heather green.), a white man-tailored button-down collared blouse, and to make the look total, a pair of cordovan penny loafers, complete with brand-new pennies.  Those clothes made all the difference in the world to me. 

Seven and a-half years is a big difference between siblings, at least when you're young. The difference between six and thirteen or thirteen and twenty is huge but then. slowly it starts to collapse.  Regardless of the gap, Donna was always looking out for me.   Me and about a hundred other people at any given time. 

I haven't got her here to call and talk to, to go back and forth  with— about recipes, guests, and what went wrong with the day (critics that we are).  

I've got a lot to be thankful for — great husband, two great kids, friends to share it all with — but I finally realize how full of thanks I am — for having had the sister I did.

Wishing you each enjoy the people who are family to you.

1 comment:

  1. Very touching. I didn't know your sister, although she sounds remarkable as you, but am assuming from this that she has recently passed away. So sorry for that loss. My mom and I have the same Thanksgiving routine, when I'm not down in Atlanta with her. She's 87, and I know how I will feel one day.