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Opinion: Thanksgiving is a time to build memories

“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.”

I enjoy all the holidays when the family gathers together. But, Thanksgiving is special. It isn’t only lots of good food, it also is a lot of good conversation from a lot of good people.

As a young boy in the pre-war era, I remember Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ home. Upwards of 30 or more people would sit down to dinner. My grandmother was boss of the kitchen and my mother, aunts and all the other ladies helped out until finally the table was filled with this festive meal, most of the food raised by us.

Because World War II started, many of these people would never return. But when they were here we had the blessing of their presence.


Those memories were burnt in my mind when some years later I tried to eat a Thanksgiving dinner out of my mess kit in an open field during a snowstorm. I vowed then that if I could, I would return to the Thanksgiving of my youth.


When I had my own family we had wonderful Thanksgiving Day dinners. But like everything else, families grow up and have their own families and move away and traditions die.


Since the passing of my wife 16 years ago, I have not had any dinners or gatherings at my home. Somehow the subject of Thanksgiving came up in conversation about a month ago. My 10-year-old grandson, Matthew, then asked if he could have Thanksgiving with me. Yes, of course. I would have dinner and a gathering at my home. It would not be on the scale of my grandmother’s dinners. But, a gathering just the same.

Matthew is my blessing. I want him to enjoy a memory building experience and understand the meaning of the day. Yes, we will gather together and ask the Lord’s blessing and thank Him for the blessings we have received.

Richard A. Pender is senior vice commander of North Brunswick American Legion Post 459. He writes the occasional column for Newspaper Media Group. He can be reached at rapender@netzero.net








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