I remember back when I was young what Thanksgiving was like at home, all the family gathered together. Everyone sat around the table, mismatched chairs and all. Relatives came from miles, sometimes driving through snowy weather. Beginning, days before, Mom prepared the meal. Mom was a really great cook! She made a huge turkey for us with sage dressing and all the trimmings. The house filled with the smell of turkey, roasting in the oven with frequent bastings. Giblet gravy simmered on the back of the stove a whole day, a huge pot of potatoes boiled up and mashed by hand, sweet potatoes with brown sugar and butter baked in. Fancier folks called them "candied yams". Then there were fresh light-as-a-feather biscuits, pickles, olives and relish dishes, celery sticks and deviled eggs, corn and peas, and cranberry sauce cut in slices from the can. I never could figure out how it was called a sauce with it being so solid, like that.
Each year it seemed to be a contest to get a bigger turkey than the year before. I remember that one of the turkeys was so large, Mom had to thaw it out in the bathtub!
After the turkey is cooked, and eaten down to the last shred of meat the family ritual included carefully removing the wish bone which was saved, tucked up above a door, I always thought for good luck where it dried. Later, my brother and I pulled it apart to make a wish on. There's a certain art to breaking a wishbone in half. only one side will get the wish. "The wishbone, known in anatomy as the furcula, is a fused clavicle bone found in birds which is shaped like the letter Y." according to wikipedia.
Mom worked hard preparing thanksgiving dinner often without any help. Back in those days, it was pretty much considered "woman's work", and I was not much a kitchen helpful daughter. I much more wanted to run and play. (Sorry, Mom.) If cousin Eva Mae was there, she helped Mom if she and Don arrived early enough. Cousin Velva did not. The smell of fresh baked pies wafting through the house smelled like heaven.
The table was overloaded with food, plate pressed up to plate. More food sat in the kitchen waiting to be asked for. “Can I have seconds?” was never refused. Pies cooled out on the front porch, that is, until one of our cats walked through one.
Mincemeat was my favorite. Nobody eats that anymore. I couldn't even find it lately at the grocery store, or the restaurant that specializes in pie desserts! I shall miss it! And Mom’s great cooking. They don't make thanksgivings like that anymore!