Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa
and anyone else who would like to be here
On Thanksgiving morning my mother always began roasting a big turkey. She cut up the onions, celery, and bread to make the stuffing, put it in the turkey, and put the turkey in the oven. After a while, the whole house began to smell very good. At that time, turkeys took longer to cook than they do now, so we enjoyed the smell of turkey cooking for much longer. Otherwise, Thanksgiving is very much the same as now. Nobody has to go to work or to school. All day we look forward to having Thanksgiving dinner at a big table of family and friends.
During the long wait for the turkey to cook, my father sometimes had a good idea. We could drive downtown and look at the display windows of the big department stores. Before he had a car, a friend named Miss Moreell took us downtown in her car once, and then ate dinner at our house. When we had a car of our own, we drove in our car.
Usually, department-store windows weren't very interesting. "Dummies" which were like great big dolls, stood in the window dressed up in the clothes that were sold in the store. But Thanksgiving was the day that the stores first let people see their very special Christmas decorations in the display windows.
One store always had a big corner window built to look like a little village with many toy trains going round and round the village. The trains stopped in the tiny pretend stations in the town. Then they went over pretend mountains and through pretend tunnels. We could hear the sounds of the train whistle and the little wheels chugging, broadcast into the street along with seasonal music. Sometimes we saw windows with Santa Claus and the Elves, or a big display of the characters from the Nutcracker ballet. Every year the displays were new.
Since no one had to drive to work on Thanksgiving, it was easy to drive without the usual traffic. The stores were closed, but we didn't want to go shopping, we just wanted to look at the decorated display windows. After we looked at the windows, we came home and found that my mother had almost finished roasting the turkey. It was almost time for our guests to arrive. We would all sit down and enjoy turkey, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and then my mother's home made pie.