November 9, 2021
It’s funny how sometimes, things just seem to stay with you. Those moments in time that are as vivid today as when they were happening years ago. Like the day I figured out that I would never, ever be able to move up to the grown-up table at my Nana’s house.
It was 1974 and I was fifteen and feeling very mature in my new, brown, high-heels from Baker’s. You remember Baker’s from the Garden State Plaza, when it was an open-air mall? We drove to Nana’s up in Mount Vernon, New York, just like we did every Thanksgiving. Nana would have a series of long tables set up in the family room – suffice it to say there were lots of Rini relations there! My two siblings and I were the youngest group, so we were always at the kids’ table with my three youngest cousins from Pennsylvania.
I don’t know why, but going into the day, I thought that now that I was all grown up and wearing my cool platform shoes, I would be sitting with the adults. What I failed to realize was that, in my family, I would always be the youngest – no matter how old I got. At least until we started getting married and producing even younger members of the family.
Despite the shock of discovering this, the day was great, as always. We made fun of Aunt Catherine’s mold. We passed on the creamed onions. We didn’t even have to eat turkey if we didn’t want to. No one really monitored us down there in no-man’s land. I started thinking that being the youngest had its advantages. It really wasn’t so bad being seated with “the kids”. In fact, maybe the kids’ table was the better place to be.
I miss those big, noisy, extended-family holidays. Times have certainly changed and this year will be different, once again. This Thanksgiving, there will be just one table at my home where two generations of family and friends will gather. But we will be thankful for Thanksgivings past – and all those fond memories.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving – no matter where you are seated!