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2 "On Being Grateful" by Sherrill Pool Elizondo

I have always felt somewhat annoyed by the fact that months before Christmas day decorations appear in the stores shortly after Halloween and, in recent years, mostly before Halloween. I am not a Grinch but I am one of those people who absolutely loves Thanksgiving and that day sometimes gets slighted. For me, it is one of the most perfect holidays and is symbolic of what is so very good about our country. It is truly an American holiday right up there with the Fourth of July.

One can make Thanksgiving Day dinner as simple or as elaborate as one wants and enjoy the day with family and/or friends and people can just laugh and talk and eat! What's not to love about the day? Added to that, we are usually blessed in Texas with beautiful weather. There is no pressure about gifts or elaborate decorations on this special day. It is, however, a time consuming matter to prepare a table with beautiful food but I am grateful that I learned early on in life how to do this and make it a special time for family.

When I was very young, my father was in charge of preparing the turkey and dressing. I would often stay up late the night before Thanksgiving and often get up very early Thanksgiving morning when he was "fixing" the dressing and turkey. Some of my fondest memories of my father revolved around the preparation of his special dressing while we talked. There was always corn bread and dried white bread as the main ingredients. With the giblets and the corn and all of the other many seasonings he added, the dressing was by far some of the best I have ever eaten. Every year at the table there was a discussion between my father and mother as to whether or not there was too much or too little sage in the dressing. Mother always thought he was a little heavy handed in using sage and I think they just liked to argue about something! For many years the family gathered at my parents' home and I always looked forward to Thanksgiving and having my children partake in the tradition. When my father was older and not in good health, he finally said that he could no longer handle doing the meal in San Antonio. I don't recall what we did that year but I distinctly remember the very first year I ever prepared the Thanksgiving meal alone for my small family, without my father's guidance, in my own home. It was a sad time for me but I did a fairly good job. There have been Thanksgiving celebrations at my younger brother's home and I have also attended Thanksgiving celebrations in Rockport (when my Father was still living), Phoenix, El Paso, Austin, San Francisco and Houston. None of them quite compare to the Thanksgivings in San Antonio at my parents' home and probably never will…but all have been very special in their own way.

I have fixed dressing alone many times but I am always grateful when someone else helps me some the night before. That person has either been my younger brother, my older son, or my husband…..whoever is here and I can get them to crumble bread and corn bread and help me decide if the dressing is seasoned properly and NO….I have never become sick from tasting just a little raw dressing to make sure there is enough sage! My sons have the recipe and know how to handle the turkey and dressing properly for safety and they know not to stuff the bird until it is ready to go into the oven. In my family, there is only one small discussion about food. I know to buy just enough cranberries to cook for certain people who like it. That's mainly me, my husband, and our middle son. I can't imagine Thanksgiving without cranberries though! I can't imagine not having pumpkin pie or pecan pie either! An ex sister in law fixed the most delicious sweet potato casserole and, hopefully, this year I will get her recipe secrets as mine have never compared to hers. It seems I am handing over the reigns for the Thanksgiving meal this year to a son in town, but I will be the one bringing some food to go with the turkey and dressing anyway and I don't mind the break from the real work in the kitchen!

I know that many people start Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving but you will not find me in any store. Since I shop year round for my gift closet, I find this a boring activity and the crowds are not fun to be around on that day. You will find me at home still visiting with my family, having leftovers, or maybe taking in a movie or going to a park... but there will be absolutely no shopping. Neither will I be trimming a tree! I am not bothered in the least if others find this the most perfect weekend to get certain things accomplished for Christmas but I want to savor Thanksgiving as long as I can. I can think of no other holiday that brings back some of my most favorite memories of family. I am thankful and so very grateful that my family taught me the value of family fellowship, of sharing love and laughter, and of sharing with others. I am very grateful for all of those past Thanksgivings and the blessings that have accumulated through the years. I know that there are others who must feel the same way. Miss you, Daddy,…thanks for teaching me how to fix fantastic dressing and how to be grateful for all that was and is good in my life.



VERY well said.


Thank you for saying so!! Sherrill

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