in my humble opinion

The way we were

Posted 11/21/23

Memories are odd. Barbra Streisand once famously sang about them being “misty” and “water-colored,” and I’m starting to see why. 

Apparently, I wrote the …

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in my humble opinion

The way we were


Memories are odd. Barbra Streisand once famously sang about them being “misty” and “water-colored,” and I’m starting to see why. 

Apparently, I wrote the following essay while reminiscing about giving thanks back in 2009, and this old blog post (you heard me) tugged at my heartstrings yesterday, when it popped up on my computer—intent on reminding me of days past. 

Over the last 15 years, some things have changed, of course. Mom is gone, as are Aunt Marcia and Uncle George. Some of the friends I refer to have also either “left the building” or taken a hiatus from me, and the dog answers to a different name. Still, it’s interesting to look back on a time when some of this was still fresh, long before much of it became stale. 

November 2009

It’s that time of year again—a time to gather with family and friends, make some time-honored recipes and give thanks. I have so much to be grateful for that I hardly know where to begin.

First and foremost, I am grateful that I’m still here to celebrate the holiday. Having survived three stomach surgeries, a small heart attack, esophageal cancer and a stroke, it’s a miracle that I can still be such a pain in the neck, but (fortunately for me) my family and friends still want me hanging around. And apparently I have a lot of unfinished business.

My doctor seems to feel that I will “still be yakking it up, even as they lower me into the ground” (nice, huh?) so I am determined to keep talking and writing until such time.

I am thankful that my grandparents were around during the “wonder years,” and that I had the good fortune to grow up in a multi-generational household. We weren’t exactly “The Waltons” (“Goodnight, John-boy”) but we had traditions that I still hold dear and close to my heart. My mother’s parents were among the first in Binghamton to acquire a color television and an instant holiday tradition was born: dinner at Gramma Fay’s and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in living color.

Back in the day, relatives gathered from near and far to celebrate (my Gramma Fay was one of 11 siblings), and the laughter and tears of those huge dinners still reverberate today. My father’s mother, Gramma Helen, lived with us for a number of years and passed down family history, some incredible recipes, the importance of family values and a sense of belonging.

My Aunt Marcia, Uncle George and assorted cousins were in attendance, and some are still around to reminisce and ruminate about as I give thanks. Just this year, Aunt Marcia gave me my Gramma Helen’s good china, which I now use every day. After all, if I only dragged it out for special occasions, I’d be able to use the dishes 20—if I’m lucky, maybe 30—times.

My Grampa Mack was an extraordinary human being, and I am extremely thankful to have grown up with his amazing generosity of spirit. I sorely miss him to this very day.

Although my father has been gone a long, long time, my beautiful, talented, creative and loving mother is still going strong in Delray Beach, FL. She might not care to admit it, but she is, in many ways, directly responsible for me being the happy, hapless lunatic that I am today.

My sister lives in Canada now and celebrates a “Thanksgiving” that I don’t even pretend to understand, but it is impossible to get through the day without recalling one year in particular. Vicki was already in college when my mother asked for her help with the turkey. Apparently, Mom had asked said sister to take the bird out of the oven to cool.

Presumably, Mom intended that the turkey should cool somewhere inside the house (duh), but Vicki, for whatever reason, put it outside, where our German shepherd spied it, sniffed it and dragged it through the snow, happily chowing down. 

I don’t remember a lot of laughter in that moment—but we sure do chuckle about it now. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I like to think that they are all looking down on these special occasions, laughing, crying and thinking about keeping the turkey indoors.

I do know that this time of year always conjures up memories that need to be written down before it’s too late. Are there Hanukkah stories to relate? You bet. Passover tales to be told? Oy! Don’t ask! All I can say is, if I’m not six feet under, apparently I’ll still be talking. As long as someone (yes, even strangers on the street!) wants to hear it—there are still plenty of memories to pass down to my nephew—I am on call. 

Hopefully, there are plenty of stories that have yet to unfold. Can’t wait to see what Thursday has to offer. One thing is sure, with my sister far, far away, the turkey is (probably) safe.

Postscript: Reading this anew, after all these years, I see that much of it still rings true while some is tinged with sadness, and I’m amused to think that I envisioned living until 2039. Still, it’s a good reminder (IMHO) to hold your loved ones close and to write some more stuff down for those who might be interested long after you’re gone. Misty, water-colored memories of the way we were. Happy Thanksgiving.

Fun Fact: “The Wonder Years” is a classic television show which ran on ABC from 1988 to 1993. The series depicts the social and family life of a boy in a typical American suburban middle-class family from 1968 to 1973, covering the ages of 12 through 17.

in my humble opinion, 2009, christmas, holidays, winter, Thanksgiving, memories, turkey, the wonder years


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