Fond memories of Thanksgivings of the past

On a positive note...

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a huge deal in my family. Everyone gathered around the big dining room table — stretched to the maximum with all the leaves. The laughter came easily as brothers, sisters, grandparents, nieces and nephews gathered to share our blessings.

One of my fondest memories is of the walks my brother and sister and I — along with a couple nieces and nephews — would take after the huge feast. It was either the walk or a turkey-induced nap on the sofa. The walk seemed to be a better option.

We’d stroll through out little hometown, pointing out where people we knew used to live, stores that were no longer in operation and fun places we used to play with friends. We’d often end up on the steps of my aunt and uncle’s home, just a few houses down. There we’d find Aunt Elinor with her grown children and grandchildren gathered around the baby grand piano, singing old hymns in four-part harmony. We would slip and join in the songfest, welcomed by Aunt Elinor’s happy wave. There was always room for more to gather in her warm and cozy living room.

Elinor had a beautiful singing voice and played the piano and organ for many different occasions. She lead the choir at church, played the organ for services and as well as for funerals and weddings.

She was also our family’s keeper of the history. She could tell the best stories about our ancestors and proudly shared the many tales of those early settlers at Swede Point (now known as Madrid).

She and her husband owned and operated a floor covering and decorating store for many years and in retirement, they managed a small golf and country club. When she wasn’t working, she was volunteering and helping others at the church or at the nursing home. She believed in working hard and helping others whenever she could.

Elinor and my son shared a birthday. She called him her “birthday buddy” even though they were 80 years apart. Each year she would send him a card with a couple dollars inside and a note to spend it on something fun. He looked forward to that each year.

This week, Aunt Elinor passed away just a few days after having a fall. She was 95.

I remember when my dad, her brother, died, she sat down beside me at the funeral and patted my hand.

“I’m going to miss him terribly,” she said.

“Me, too,” I told her and she squeezed my hand.

So this week, my family will gather to remember my aunt, a delightful, graceful and talented lady.  She will be missed and fondly remembered.