There is a 4 by 6 coloured photograph in one of my albums that captures the image of 3 cousins. We are standing on the gravel lane and dried leaves decorate that grey ground under our feet. Evidence that someone had been hard at work leans against the tiered retaining wall behind us; that old rack standing in a pile of leaves. In amongst the flower beds on the retaining wall more leaves have settled. The picture doesn’t capture what we are looking at though, but I know our eyes face my favourite place to be: the cottage. The doors and windows are closed to keep in the heat and the smells of Thanksgiving dinner. The air outside has a bite to it and our cheeks are rosy and our noses runny.
The day passes is waves of work and laughter. Who would have thought prepping the cottage for winter and enjoying a holiday at that same time would be so much fun? The thought of dinner is a driving force and sharing this holiday at the cottage is special. Going in from outside is an assault on the senses. The warmth works to make my mind lazy and my eyelids tired. The steady rhythm of conversation is lulling as I rest on the sofa for a few minutes.
The round table is set for 9. I slide onto the circular spinning stool and watch with anticipation as turkey, dressing, gravy, mash potatoes, cranberries, turnip, corn and dinner rolls are added to the spread. Grandpa’s voice dominates the room as he finished saying grace and invites us to begin passing the dishes clockwise around the table. Grama’s fresh baked apple pie and strawberry rhubarb pie sit on the counter waiting for their turn on the table.
I don’t actually remember eating dinner that day but I remember that it was one of my favourite Thanksgivings and that simple picture of the 3 of us smiling for the camera in one of the rare moments when we got to be together brings back the sensations and emotions from that day so many years ago.
By Shari Marshall – 2019