Saturday essay: Prelude to thanks
It wasn’t quite over the river and through the wood to grandfather’s house we went in the 1960s. It was more like over the hills and through the dales of Colerain Pike, then hanging a right onto Vine Street to Pop and Granny’s house in Martins Ferry, Ohio.
But anticipating our arrival at the modest home of our paternal grandparents on late Thanksgiving morning was every bit worthy of the Lydia Maria Child poem later set to music (but seldom heard these days).
En route in the ’63 Ford Falcon sleigh, brother Shannon and I would debate whether stretching our stomachs with food or fasting the day before would allow us to eat more.
Upon arrival, the loud refrains of the closing moments of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade could be heard rattling through the living room windows; those same rattles soon would deliver a football game to the neighborhood.
Then, the moment of moments arrived: The front door would open and that instantly intoxicating first wave of a slow-roasted turkey, just carved on the stove top, would waft over us. Surely it called us by name, beckoning little boys to sample pieces of crisp skin, moist turkey and melt-in-our-mouths stuffing.
But in short order, we were shooed away: it was time for Granny to hand-whip the potatoes. The flapping underside of her arm as she did so was the stuff of legend; keeping a safe distance was wise to avoid injury.
Alas, Thanksgiving dinner was anti-climactic. For the prelude to thanks was more than three-quarters the fun.
— Colin McNickle