On Wednesday night, I spent the evening making goodies for Thanksgiving. Rosemary pecans, corn casserole, and my personal favorite, dressing–my Grandpa’s recipe.
I remember when I was younger, before all the cousins got boyfriends or were too busy for family gatherings, and our vacations revolved around spending time together at Grandma and Grandpa Bodley’s house. We would listen to Grandpa play the piano, spend the night in a row of sleeping bags in the living room, and sneak off to the spare bedroom to play the Ouija board–although I always got too scared and ended up telling on everyone, because we weren’t allowed to play it.
In the mornings, I would wake up to the sound of Grandpa in the kitchen before everyone, preparing the Thanksgiving meal. I would peek around the corner so he wouldn’t notice I was awake yet and watch him cook. Tearing loaves of bread into bite-sized pieces, chopping celery, and mixing a big bowl of dressing. Sometimes, he would look up and smile at me, and I would sneak back to my sleeping bag until the rest of my cousins woke up.
Wednesday night, as I was tearing loaves of bread and chopping celery, I stopped for just a moment, realizing that at that same time, others in my family were doing the same thing. My dad was in Michigan, adding just another dash of pepper. Aunt Anita was chopping an onion in Chicago. Creating a dish for our families that my Grandpa so lovingly made for us year after year. For a moment, I felt like what I was doing was timeless.
And it made me so grateful. Grateful for Grandpa’s delicious dressing recipe. Grateful that he made it for us every year, knowing how much we loved it. Grateful that he would listen to me make up stories about the “Flying Pig” in the skylight above the dinner table as we were gathered around his meal. Grateful that he taught us all the value of tradition, and above all, the value of family.