Today, I am Thankful for china dishes.
As a little girl, we would visit my Nanny and Poppy every Sunday. We’d sit around their kitchen table as Aunts, Uncles, cousins and family friends came and went…grabbing a plate of food and joining in on the conversation before blowing their kisses and saying their good-byes…until next time.
Sometimes, the meal would go on forever…several cups of tea poured…cakes and treats…crackers and cheese.
Sometimes, we’d wash up the plates and move to the living room…everyone squeezed next to one another on every piece of furniture and spot on the floor…where the guitars would come out and the singing would begin.
Sometimes, my Uncle Mike would play the piano. On the rarest of occasions…my Nanny would.
Always, Poppy would pull out the harmonica.
These are the moments of my childhood that I cherish.
Our family, all gathered…full of opinions and stories and laughter and song.
At times, I’d be lost in the conversation…at others, I’d be lost in my Nanny’s china.
The multiple plates and tea cups that matched…where my Pop would repeatedly bang his spoon around his “1/2 a cup of tea”…tinking the sides of the china cup…then, when you’d least expect it, he’d pull out his hot spoon and place it on the back of your hand…causing you to squeal.
Sometimes, he put a cold spoon on your hand but you were so sure it was hot you’d jump in fright while Nan rolled her eyes at him with that “For God’s sake Jim” tone in her voice you heard from time to time.
Pop would grin.
I stared at those plates…got lost in those plates…I pictured myself living in the castle with the water flowing through. I imagined walking around the fields with the beautiful flowers. I imagined living in the turret…looking out the windows…walking across the bridge.
The plates, were overflowed with Turkey and veggies…with the most perfect gravy poured over top. They held seconds…and, depending how many people dropped in…thirds.
A few weeks ago, as I sent my eldest off to France and felt the heartache that goes with a child who’s leaving your home…my Aunt Betty sent me a message of love and understanding. Then, she told me she was sending me a set of Nanny’s dishes…as she knew I’d always loved them.
This Thanksgiving, while my family gathers around my kitchen table…I’ll think of my strong, beautiful, ever-loving and supportive Aunt Betty…I’ll think of her family and the stresses they’ve been through in the last few weeks as my Uncle faces a cancer diagnosis. I’ll think of her faith that’s always been a constant in her life…and in mine…in the many prayers she’s said for me…that I now say for her.
This Thanksgiving, I’ll think of The Tall Blonde in France as she lives along the river with the beautiful castles.
This Thanksgiving, I’ll think of my Aunts and Uncles, my cousins and their families…the sing-songs…the feeling of being absolutely loved and cherished. I’ll think of my grandparents…my great grandparents…how their love has continued on from one generation to the next.
This Thanksgiving, I’ll think of my children and parents, my brothers and their families, our friends. The laughter and the stories.
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the meals around my kitchen table…the many more to come…the traditions that bind us…and Nanny’s china dishes.