Friday, November 27, 2009
Holidays have a way of making me review my life—-memories of Thanksgivings past. When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was strictly a family affair. During my first brief, troubled marriage, I don’t recall our ever celebrating Thanksgiving. My second marriage was another mistake, but it lasted much longer, and about a decade of Thanksgiving dinners were spent with my ex's family. They were a very nice group of people who were very good to my son and I have fond memories of them.
My third try at marriage was a success and many Thanksgiving dinners were spent with my husband’s family in Rhode Island. Sadly, my husband’s parents and many of the relatives who sat around that Thanksgiving table are no longer with us and we are no longer driving up to Rhode Island for Thanksgiving. The common thread in all this is that the folks around the Thanksgiving table were all family—-traditionally defined.
My sister and a group of her friends have been having Thanksgiving together for years. And luckily for us they have taken us in. Much as I enjoy having dinner with my husband, a Thanksgiving dinner with just the two of us wouldn’t be much fun. Holidays are communal celebrations.
My guess is that in our increasingly mobile society with our changing notions of what counts as family, many of those communal celebrations are as likely to consist of a small circle of friends as of a group of relatives.