It was a small square card table abutting the end of the massive oval table in the dining room. It had a paper table cloth instead of linen, like at the adult table, and it was several inches lower than the permanent fixture in the room. None of the serving dishes overflowing with Thanksgiving food ever resided on this table during the meal. In fact, most of the time the food was served to us by the adults — hovering parents offloading what they wanted to serve (and serve quickly), so they could get back to the festive drinks with cranberries floating in their crystal glasses.
I liked being at the kids’ table. Seated before me was a captive audience for my cleverness and articulate humor. I was able to star in a command performance without the watchful eye of any parent. As long as we kept the volume down and didn’t cause a scene, we could do anything: play with our food, kick under the table, tease mercilessly, and lord our advanced age over the smaller tykes.
Every year at Thanksgiving whether I was at the big table or the smaller one, whether I was living with my family stationed overseas in France or Japan, or whether I gathered up a small group of my wonderful women friends when, for whatever reason, we were each alone for the holiday, every year of my life I have been graced with a Thanksgiving marked by abundance and fellowship. I, thank God, have never had a holiday deprived of a cornucopia of the best and cleanest foods to consume, the most delicious wines and the most comfortable surroundings in which to celebrate with family and friends.
Never have I wondered how I would get to the store or pay for my purchases or have the strength to prepare a meal for friends and family. But while I’ve never struggled in these areas, I’ve never taken the lack of hardship for granted. How many times I’ve thought, “There but the for grace of God ….” when seeing someone with less.
This day to me is about stating publicly that which I acknowledge every day of my life. And I appreciate all that has led me to where I am today.
I’ve been at the adult table for many years now but I still remember a time when I was younger and naive about the changes to come. Today, I’m the only one still alive from that entire combined-table tableau of family and friends. I am grateful for what life was then and for what it has become today.
Gratitude and giving thanks have carried me through all the highs and lows of my time so far. I shall continue to celebrate it all.
Thank you for making my life more rewarding.