Sunday, November 24, 2013

Not About Giving or Receiving by Brenda Whiteside

Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday, in spite of what I've learned in recent years about the discovery of America. But I won't go there because the spirit of the holiday has always roped me in and still does. It's not about receiving and not really about giving either. It's about sharing.

As a child, the entire Ransdell clan (my dad's side of the family) gathered together twice a year: Easter and Thanksgiving. Easter meant getting all dressed up and hunting eggs. Honestly, I didn't get into that much. Thanksgiving evokes different memories of a long, warm, lazy day with plenty of food and all my cousins together in one place at Granny's. Eventually, once cousins started marrying, we splintered off into our own family unit dinners.

When I married a man in the Army, Thanksgiving changed. Truthfully, that's when the holiday became my favorite. The first three years of our marriage we were in Germany without family. I cooked the dinners and our house would fill with friends and single G.I.'s. From then on, even after we were back home, any dinner we put on included an assortment of people who might not have any family around.

The first year we were back in the states from Germany, we shared the day with strangers. Our Army paycheck had not caught up with us. We were broke, couldn't get home and didn't know anyone. We walked to the USO where they were serving a turkey dinner for other service people like ourselves. It was a memorable afternoon and evening. How lucky we were to have a place to go.

Last year, we hosted Thanksgiving for our first year on the farm. We had family up from Phoenix and a friend from our new town. This year, we'll go down to Phoenix and a different mix of family and friends will eat at my mom's. Every Thanksgiving, I feel lucky. The day is for enjoying family, friends and realizing how blessed we are.

11 comments:

Margo Hoornstra said...

Brenda, Great memories. It's the people we're fortunate to be with on holidays that make them special. Nice post.

Diane Burton said...

Lovely memories, Brenda. Thanks for sharing.

Jannine Gallant said...

Have a happy Thanksgiving! You're right, it is all about sharing!

Alicia Dean said...

I love hearing these stories of spending the holidays with soldiers. I have a special place in my heart for those who serve our country. How awesome that you opened your home to them. I have fond memories of a house overflowing with family and food. Nowadays, my dad is gone and my mom is in a nursing home. I have Thanksgiving at my house, and my kids and some of my siblings and nieces/nephews come. But it's not the big family event it used to be.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks, all. Yep, Alicia, our events change as life takes its turns. Memories are great and it's up to us to make more of them for our own children.

Nancy Dow said...

Wonderful memories Brenda, thanks for sharing! Just reinforces the idea that it's not where you are but who you are with. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Well, stated, Nancy!

RE Mullins said...

I agree. Regardless of how Thanksgiving started it has come to embody the spirit of sharing. As the least commercialized holiday, it has also become my favorite.
R.E.Mullins

Ashantay said...

How right you are that this is a day for gratitude! Wouldn't it be nice if we all were grateful for all our gifts every day?

A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours -

Leah St. James said...

You're so right, Brenda!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks for stopping in RE, Ashantay and Leah. Lots to be thankful for...