I don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving now but when I was a child it was a very important holiday. In my family it was traditional to go to my great-aunt’s (my father’s aunt) house for Thanksgiving. My father’s Aunt Maggie and Uncle Jack usually had a very big Thanksgiving party, which many family members attended.
Their house was in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is about a one and a half hour drive from my hometown, Denver. My father’s sister and brother-in-law would often come down from Montana for the party and sometimes my grandfather would come up from New Mexico for it as well. The party would often have 15 or 20 guests.
Boulder is bit more rural than Denver. Next to their house was a field with cows. They had a very big house that Jack had designed and built himself. The house had a large yard to play in and a closet just for children’s toys which my cousins, my brother and I would play in.
The weather during Thanksgiving varied greatly. Some years it would still be autumn but other years it would be very snowy. If the weather was nice we might play outside, but if it was cold we might stay inside near the fireplace.
The house was usually decorated with various pumpkins and gourds as well as a cornucopia. “Cornucopia” is a word that comes from Latin, “Cornu” means horn and “copia” means plenty so it is the “Horn of Plenty”. The decoration is a horn shaped basket filled with grains, fruits, and vegetables. It is a symbol of prosperity and a good harvest.
Before the meal we sometimes played a party game, such as Pictionary. Pictionary is a game where you have teams. One of the team members on each team knows a word but cannot talk or write. They can only draw a picture while the rest of the team tries to guess the word. There is a time limit, so if the partner guesses the correct word in the time limit they get a point. Whoever gets the most points, wins.
The foods at the Thanksgiving party were usually quite traditional. The main dish was of course turkey. Normal side dishes were mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn bread, and stuffing. Stuffing is a dish made by putting toasted bread, herbs and vegetables in the turkey. The stuffing cooks in the turkey and absorbs the juices and natural flavors of the turkey.
Some years, Uncle Jack would personally hunt for and kill the turkey himself. He would hunt for them in the woods near his house. Sometimes his son helped him.
The dessert was usually pie. Because there were so many guests, we usually had a variety of different pies. Almost every year we had apple and pumpkin pie, which were usually supplemented with some other pies such as blueberry or cherry.
Sometimes, living in Tokyo, I miss being able to eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal and spending time with my family. Of course it would be quite different if I went back to Denver now. Maggie and Jack have passed away, so I would probably only attend a small party with close family. However, I would still have a good holiday.
gourd (n) – any one of several types of fruits that have a hard shell and that are used for decoration and not for eating
grain (n) – the seeds of plants (such as wheat, corn, and rice) that are used for food
prosperity (n) – the state of being successful usually by making a lot of money
absorb (v) – to take in (something, such as a liquid) in a natural or gradual way
supplement (v) – to add something to (something else) in order to make it complete