Because we publish on Wednesday, and Thanksgiving is always on Thursday, this is the one week of the year that I’m guaranteed that my column lines up perfectly with what’s on the minds of readers.
And that, of course, is reflecting about what we’re most thankful for.
Like most of you, my greatest thanks is being with family to create new memories, reminisce about old times and talk about the future.
My family actually celebrated Thanksgiving a few weeks back, because my niece was married in Gainesville earlier this month. After the wedding, my daughter, Rachel, and my son, Andy and his family, came to Land O’ Lakes to celebrate an early Thanksgiving dinner.
Because Andy lives in Appleton, Wisconsin, and Rachel is a graduate student in Tallahassee, distance has prevented us from celebrating Thanksgiving together in three years.
I took a few days off to cook, and even tried some new recipes. (I should have stuck with sweet potatoes and marshmallows, instead of the new healthy version I made.)
No matter the age, children love tradition, right down to green bean casserole with French’s fried onions and Publix pumpkin pie.
And, because my kids were home for several days, I also stocked my kitchen with some of their favorite childhood foods, including mint chocolate chip Klondike bars, Cinnamon Toast cereal and calorie-laden eggnog.
As young adults, my children are conscientious of their diet, and mostly eat healthy foods.
At least that’s true until they’re home with Mom.
It was amazing how quickly they found their favorite childhood foods in the pantry and freezer.
It was fun to watch Andy introduce his 1-year-old son, Connor, to his first Klondike bar. Believe me, that little guy caught on very quickly to the pleasures of mint ice cream covered in frozen chocolate.
Andy left home for college 10 years ago, and has not lived in the Tampa area since then. But, whenever he visits my home, he delights in discovering household items from his childhood he hadn’t thought of for many years — such as my retro-orange silverware organizer that has kept my spoons, forks and knives separated since before Andy was born. And, there are the holiday platters and bowls I received as wedding gifts 32 years ago, which only come out of the buffet once or twice a year.
Andy excitedly showed these “family heirlooms” to his wife, Erin, who I’m sure was grateful there was no room in their luggage to bring back any of these family treasures to Appleton.
That’s fine with me because I’m still attached to many of these items. They may be 30 years old, but there is no need to replace them.
Besides my family, I am thankful for so much more. I’m blessed to own this newspaper in an expanding local economy. I am grateful to have so many supportive advertisers and readers, and to have employees who are also my closest friends. I am also thankful for Vic Anthony, who came into my life five years ago, and for our two dogs, Buddy and Travis.
Tomorrow I will celebrate Thanksgiving with Vic’s family in Alabama — my second holiday dinner in three weeks.
Once again, I will reflect about the many blessings in my life. And it is my hope, that no matter how, where or when you celebrate the holiday that you, too, have people and memories to cherish.
Published November 23, 2016