the first Thanksgiving

It’s Thursday morning, 5 am. I’m up starting the preparations for Thanksgiving Day. The house is still asleep. All is quiet –something it wasn‘t at 10:00 last night when I was trying hard to fall asleep. My grandson, Fisher, came and climbed in bed with me and within a few minutes we were both nodding off to dream land.

This is the first year we’re not having Thanksgiving in Ogden at one of the churches able to hold a hundred-plus people. For years we’ve all met and cooked and eaten and played and rough-housed and visited. This year all my brothers and sisters [with their own children and grandchildren] have gone their separate ways with families of their own. This year we won’t have the multi-generational gathering presided over with my mother as Matriarch.

She died just a few weeks after last year’s Thanksgiving celebration at the age of 90.

I remember so many holidays I wasn’t able to share with the rest of the family because of the nine years I spent in Pennsylvania and Ohio. I would call on Christmas or Easter or Mother’s Day and I could hear everyone’s voices in the background as I cried from loneliness. Now I’m here, and she’s gone.

I miss her. Last night we were joking about something and I said, “See, if Mom were still here we could just call and ask her.” Oh the things we used to call her for. . . How do you spell ‘deciduous?’ What temperature do you cook a roast if you are going to be in church for three hours and want it on the table at 1:00 pm sharp? What’s the best way to hem a nightgown made out of tricot? What’s a quick Halloween costume I could make out of a hoola-hoop and, say, a raccoon hat? Can I substitute Crisco for butter in this recipe? What do you do if your children are going in a undesirable direction? How did you ever survive raising nine children? What’s an idea for Mikelle’s history project? Do you know a story I can use in my Relief Society lesson on repentance? What should I get Janet for Christmas? Has anyone in the [extended] family had a baby? Who was Grandma Rollins’ great grandmother? Where can I get the best price on quilting batting? What day is family temple day? What can I use to clean the lint out of the bottom of my sewing machine? Is ‘xi’ a word I can use in Scrabble? Who gave the talk on Pride back in the 90’s? What’s dad’s second sister’s name? And who is her first daughter? What year did I paint that self-portrait? Do you still have it somewhere? What should we do about Leonard needing a liver transplant? How can we get through this? What’s your pie crust recipe? Are you going camping this year with us? Did you watch Jeopardy? Can you believe that Ken Jennings? How do I get rid of the smell in the drain? What should I change if my chocolate pound cake is too crumbly? How can I tell Stephen to trust in the Lord? How were you ever so patient?

Sometimes I just want to climb into her arms and have her hold me and comfort me and tell me everything is going to be OK.

I need her to tell me right now how to thaw the turkey that I thought was thawed last night when I went to bed. It’s been in the fridge a couple of days, but when I woke up early to get things started, I discovered it’s still frozen nearly solid!

I need her to tell me that she’s, indeed, in heaven, right by dad’s side, and that all of this earth-life stuff is worth it. I need her to tell me that if you’ve taught your children what is right, they will eventually get the whole concept of the gospel and want it for themselves in their own lives.

Rest peacefully, Mom. Enjoy heaven on this Thanksgiving Day. We all love and adore you and have no idea how we made it through a whole year without you! We miss you!

One thought on “the first Thanksgiving

  1. Holly

    This brought the tears to my eyes, that is for sure. You have such a way with words, I love to read what you write. Just the other day I was missing Jeff’s Dad so much, I can’t imagine what it will be like without my Mom. Thanks for all of your inspiration! Holly

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