I would like to take a brief pause to talk about Thanksgiving. Ok, I realize this is a retirement blog, and any connection between retirement and Thanksgiving is tenuous at best. For those readers who come here to learn about retirement, I will try to come up with a couple of weak links to retirement, but this entry is really about a great Thanksgiving and some wonderful memories.
Mike and I spent Thanksgiving Day at mom’s house with family and friends. As people were gathering and we waited for everyone to arrive for dinner, my sister Ange began asking questions from a list of Thanksgiving Story Starters” that Mike got from of AARP magazine (ok, here is the first retirement connection!). It was a great conversation piece, and we laughed long and hard at some of the answers.
When asked about how he remembered his grandparents, my nephew Dane thoughtfully answered, "caring". Ange answered the question about her first music player with “record player” and lots of John Denver songs. Apparently this was the small cue her husband Eric needed to start singing a John Denver song. When my sister-in-law Peggy couldn’t recall a time she was in hot water, my brother Gary helped her out. He reminded her of a time she let a dish boil dry and the Teflon pan began to melt. And this is just one of her cooking stories…
Mike asked a question about what was our first memory. Mom talked about goats chasing her in a pasture when she was very young. She said that to this day she does not like goats. Mike said the earliest thing he remembered was hearing the song “Witch Doctor” and crooning along with it from his crib. Dane said his first memory was his 4th birthday when our family was on an Alaskan cruise.
Ange mentioned breaking her leg when she was on the back of a bike my mom was riding. She reckoned that mom had not heard her from the back of the bike asking, “is it ok if I put my foot down”? This is the first time I heard the reason she broke her leg. I recounted one of my earliest memories when dad took me, Judy and Pam on a walk to our grandparent’s house through the woods and across the creek. I mentioned how dad kept walking along the creek until he found a place we could safely cross. Mom said this story was news to her!
We talked about things we were thankful for. Everyone mentioned family and friends and no major health problems. After the past year, this was definitely a blessing. Gary was thankful for a new job on day shift, and I was thankful for no job (retirement, what can I say?). We each remembered dad in some way during this dinner. He had a strong presence at the table, and he was never far from our thoughts.
I don’t know about you, but there are some lessons I learn over and over in my life (possibly I’m just a slow learner). One of those lessons is that people are more important than anything else in life. People, memories, laughter (and maybe a few tears). I was blessed with this lesson once again on Thanksgiving Day.