I feel fortunate to have had many warm memories of Thanksgiving. In my youth we would travel north to my maternal grandparent’s home, where there we had a family dinner with Mother’s brother’s family. In my memory Thanksgiving morning seemed to start always with Grandfather going out into the snow (for it always snowed on Thanksgiving) to fill the bird feeders, while I sat inside, watching him out the window, while I eating toast with cinnamon sugar. To this day, I think of him and Thanksgiving whenever I have cinnamon toast. At the other end of the day, Grandfather, with the desserts always had a large spherical edam cheese, wrapped in red wax, imported from Holland (The Netherlands, not Holland Michigan). He didn’t cut it into sections but sliced it horizontally, across the Arctic circle, scooping out chunks of golden flesh like an exotic pumpkin. This was done using a specialized spoon. I still buy a slab of edam cheese to go with the meal. Someone prefers whipped cream, not cheese, with the pumpkin pie. He dislikes the spray can stuff. Rather, he he whips some up himself from heavy cream bought for the occasion.

As a boy I watched the Macy’s parade but now as a man living on Pacific Time I haven’t seen it in years. I enjoyed the pre-parade more than the parade itself. The men-folk in my family watched the Lions game on TV, which Father called ‘the annual loss of the Pussycats”. No Thanksgiving was complete without Uncle David and Father lamenting the debacle of the Lions game.

After my grandparents died, we had Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Mother made grasshopper pie as well as a pumpkin one.Most of us took a slice of both (edam cheese on the side). Brother #3 and I developed a tradition to brew a pot of oolong tea to go along with the desserts, rather than nasty coffee everyone else wanted. To this day when I have oolong I think of him.

After the pies and the cheese were served and the libations were poured, we did the family gift exchange programme. The adults would draw names to find out which relation was your Secret Santa at Christmas, taking note to ask your Secret Santa’s mate to provide you some ideas.

And THEN we’d do something I liked best of all!

Every Spo down in Spo-ville, the tall and the small,

Would gather together, the fireplace, roaring

They’d crash by the fire, and the Spos would start snoring!

Happy Thanksgiving to Spo-fans far and near.

I am thankful to have you.