Weevils, the heads, and turkey days past

It's one week until Thanksgiving Day, and I can't wait.

This will be the first Thanksgiving that one of my daughters will host the affair. Jim, Brianna, Andrea and I are headed to Megan's for the big day, to include the community turkey trot (the girls are trotting; I'm watching), time with Bubby, and Thanksgiving dinner together as a family.

I'm excited to add this "first" to the collection of Thanksgiving memories that have been rumbling 'round my head and heart the last couple days. Things like ...

Thanksgivings early on as a family, when the girls and Jim and I had to eat two turkey dinners in the same day to accommodate holiday visits to both parents -- both my parents, not my in-laws.

Thanksgiving in South Dakota with the Indians. Real Indians from the reservation, who were friends of Jim's sister and brother-in-law, our hosts. The weekend included horseback rides for the girls, silly nephews pitching olives during the meal and the obligatory visit to "The Heads" (Mount Rushmore, for the uninitiated).

Another Thanksgiving in South Dakota, another visit to "The Heads." The time Granny reserved a room at her church to accommodate her many visiting relatives. Just before the meal, she realized she'd forgotten to make potatoes and cheerfully announced she could throw together instant potatoes she had at home. "My husband will NOT be eating instant mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving," snarled one of Jim's sisters. The sister who eventually left her husband -- for her daughter's ex-boyfriend. The husband who eventually died -- from complications of a broken heart.

Once again: Thanksgiving in South Dakota. The year Megan and Andie wrecked their car on the way home from college. So we drove two cars to South Dakota -- Brianna and my mom in one; Jim, Megan, Andie and I in the other -- so that after the festivities (and, of course, a visit to "The Heads") Jim and I could take the girls back to college. We drove from the Black Hills of South Dakota to the east side of Nebraska to drop off the girls, then home to Colorado ... driving straight through. It was our first introduction to Red Bull and Monster energy drinks -- and the last time we'll ever drive that many miles without sleep.

The long-standing tradition of spreading Indian-corn kernels on the Thanksgiving dinner table, with everyone invited to place kernels symbolizing their personal blessings in the special "gratitude" dish at any time during the meal. The tradition I can never explain to guests because I get all verklempt thinking of my many, many blessings. Thankfully one of the girls always steps in and explains it for me -- another blessing that increases my verklempt state. Every time.

The first Thanksgiving I hosted at my house for all the extended family, including my older sister and her husband, whom I wanted desperately to impress. Naturally it would be the year that when I pulled out my "gratitude" dish with Indian-corn kernels saved from the previous year and dumped the kernels onto the beautifully set Thanksgiving table, weevils -- who'd been happily noshing on the kernels all year -- scattered everywhere. Yes, I made an impression.

The first year Jim and I participated in any Black Friday madness. It was the year of the Furby fracas and each of the girls wanted a Furby. We woke up early, went to store after store in the dark -- and came away with three Furbys (Furbies?), one for each of the girls! Thanks in large part to my brother and his wife who were staying with us for the holiday. My brother who no longer speaks to me or Jim ... hasn't for years ... for reasons I don't understand.

The Thanksgiving Jim and I hosted the family mere days after moving into our current house. Boxes still awaited unpacking, furniture, rugs, curtains and more still needed to be purchased and placed. Yet Megan and Preston came -- it was the visit when they announced they were pregnant! -- Andrea invited a visitor from Brazil (I think it was Brazil), and many from my extended family attended. Truly one of my warmest Thanksgiving memories ever, despite the cantankerous and not-yet-working-correctly boiler system of our new place.

Thanksgiving activities with the family: crafting ornaments, doing puzzles, decorating gingerbread houses, painting canvases to adorn the walls of our new home. Megan's creation the year of the canvas? A depiction of how cold our seemingly cavernous house was thanks to that pesky boiler system, especially to one accustomed to desert temperatures.

The tradition of the girls, when they were too young to cook, contributing to the festivities by making dinner mints -- a cream-cheese and powdered sugar concoction flavored with peppermint, pressed into candy molds then popped out for sharing. A tradition that will be passed along to Bubby this year, so he too can contribute to the meal even though he's not yet able to cook.

It's one week until Bubby's little hands squish and squash like Play-doh the traditional dinner mints. Mints that will surely, in years to come, be remembered as the sweetest dinner mints ever.

And I can't wait!

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Today's question:

What are some memories from your Thanksgivings past?