Earthtone colors - red and gold leaves, nuts, chrysanthemums in glowing colors. Cornicopia briming with squash and nuts. Family getting together, roast turkey, gravy, stuffing ...
When I was a child, our largish family would go to my grandmother's the night before, always a cold and snowy drive, singing "Over the River and Through the Woods". Mom and Grandma were up early to stuff the turkey with stuffing made from scratch and get it in the oven on time. We had dinner around 1:00, the table set and gleaming with the white, gold-rimmed china and the colored glasses, and the silverplate tableware.
There was the turkey, bought fresh from the turkey farm, the stuffing and gravy. Mashed potatoes competed with the squash, broccoli and beets, orange custard, homemade cranberry sauce.
Laughing, joking, eating.
After the dishes were done, my sisters and I made the fruit cocktail for the evening guests. Home-canned quarts of peaches and pears, cut into cubes, were augmented with grapes, oranges, and bananas. Grandma sliced the leftover turkey for turkey sandwiches while Mom prepared other sandwich options - tuna, balogna, ham, cheese, lettuce.
And then, the best part of all - all my grandmother's decendents as well as her siblings decendents converged on her modest house, filling it with joyous chaos. The women chatted in the dining room while they set the table again for the adults. The kids played games in the living room - Pounce and Pit and whatever new game was going around, yelling at the top of their lungs. Then the women cleaned up again, set the table again, and we kids would have our sandwiches and fruit.
It's been nearly forty years since then.
In the meantime, my first husband and I went to my parents' for Thanksgiving. My second husband and I went to his mother's, where we played bridge with her all weekend while her sons went hunting.
All gone now.
Usually since then, I have had one son or another with or without family come home for the holiday, but one son is now in Georgia and has been for several years. The other lives here in Buffalo, but they go to his sister-in-law's for Thanksgiving.
Last year, Dale's brother was without family to go to, so we all went to a restaurant and had a lovely time, but this year he will be at his daughter's.
So Dale and Raederle and I will go to the restaurant again. Ourselves. It will be a lovely dinner out.
But not really Thanksgiving.