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.