Happy Thanksgiving from lassennews.com

My mother’s side of our family in the early 1960s — my grandfather Earl, my mother, my brother Ted, my sister Karma and me.

My family and friends will gather today to celebrate Thanksgiving, and I’m guessing you and yours will, too.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and thanks for all your support. We really do appreciate it.

I happily give thanks today for my many blessings, but at the same time as I grow older and older, I can’t help longing more and more for the Thanksgivings of my youth when the family shared that old, turn of the century, two story, seven bedroom farmhouse on Van Ness Avenue now surrounded by other houses in the middle of downtown Fresno. Once upon a time when it was the only house around real cow pokes holed up there we were told. Truth is, I miss my old family and our gatherings from those days every time Thanksgiving or some other holiday rises from the calendar in bright red type. Some family members have passed and others have moved on to many far off places, but I l remember how once upon a cherished time, the family was all together.

My mother, a Texan, always thawed a big Tom in the sink with running water (I hear that’s a no-no these days), stuffed it with her special homemade stuffing and then basted that bird every few minutes in order to make it juicer and add a little crunch to the skin, she said. A subtle, delicious delight, it always turned out perfectly.

I took this picture of Sis when I was about 12 years old. Obviously she didn’t want me to practice my photographic skills on her.

My step-sister Pat (we called her Sis) always seemed to be pressed into domestic servitude, so she would roll up her sleeves and slave all day in the kitchen with Mom, smashing the potatoes, stirring the gravy, making the dressing, string beans, rolls, cranberry sauce and anything and everything else.

The family, including my grandfather and guests, would confusedly stumble to their places on those squeaky chairs tightly packed around the dining room table, and then the  steaming feast would be lovingly heaped and piled on my grandmother’s precious antique China.

Despite the fact my stepfather practiced an eastern religion, we always began our meal with a prayer offering thanks to God. A vegetarian, he pawed through his own pan of non-turkey-infused stuffing, beans sans bacon, potatoes with loads of butter and a stack of some weird, canned, sliced vegetable protein stuff in its own sticky brown gravy we kids called “Doggie Bon Bons!” The stuff didn’t taste all that bad, but the big question we never got answered was, “What is it?”

As much as I miss those days long gone by, I also know we’re all making exactly the same sort of memories today that others will fondly remember far in the future just as I do today. It’s the way of such things, I guess.

As my friend, folksinger and songwriter David Halk wrote many years ago during the coffehouse days, “The old times have gone/And there are new ones on the way/But the best times are the times that are here today.”

I hope this day overflows with thanks, love and happiness galore for you and yours.

Here’s our warmest wish from lassennews.com to all of you — Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.