Thanksgiving Memories


Dear friends,

If I had to choose one holiday as my favorite, it would be Thanksgiving.

On the face of it, everyone could use a reminder to be thankful for family, friends, possessions, health, the beauty of nature, and so on. I also appreciate the spiritual underpinnings of the holiday, as we who are particularly blessed tend to forget where it all comes from.

My warmest memories center around a large family meal which included foods we didn’t have very often such as turkey, sage dressing, black olives, and REAL mashed potatoes. What about the cranberries? I was never a fan; probably because my mother used to buy a can of gelatinous sauce and slice it like a loaf of bread. I think she was the only one who ever ate any of, yet it appeared every year like clockwork.


The ubiquitous pumpkin pie also made an appearance, along with apple and cherry, but I always went for the OTHER pie mom used to make only twice a year. It was called Ritz Cracker Torte, from a recipe she found somewhere years before I was born (yes, I still have it). This dietitian’s despair was made of sugar, egg whites, Ritz Cracker crumbs, and chopped walnuts, among other things. Bake, refrigerate, top with real whipping cream, and Voila! Heart attack on a plate. I loved it back then, but can’t eat foods like that any longer. My blood sugar goes up just thinking about it!


Growing up in a large family, we gathered around an enormous dining room table for the meal, with a couple card tables for the little kids on the side. The whole thing was messy, noisy, and required a group effort to pull it off. When the kitchen was clean and leftovers divided, we would break up into smaller groups for games – usually charades, telephone, twister, or the dictionary game. Sometimes, we even did skits or songs. It was a lot of fun! As older siblings married and had kids, Mom and Dad could be found spoiling the babies, or watching sports on TV with my brother’s-in-law.


Nowadays, I live too far from my siblings to join them for any holidays, and I miss this one the most. One of my sisters still hosts a family gathering at her house on the weekend before. Good food, laughter, games – it’s all there (except for the cranberry sauce). On a sad note, my mother passed away on Thanksgiving Day back in 2000. It doesn’t normally bother me, but I miss her just a bit more this time of year.

Whatever you have going on this Thanksgiving, take a moment to reflect on your blessings, share with others in need, and tell the special people in your life how much you love them.

Holiday Hugs,







6 responses to “Thanksgiving Memories”

  1. Theresa Avatar

    What a nice post! I’m sure your siblings feel the same way as you do on Thanksgiving. It’s always hard to lose your Mom, but it’s even worse on a holiday. I’m also not a fan of the canned “tube” of cranberry, but do enjoy making it from real cranberries. As we age, things that used to be “yucky” somehow turn into something edible! Go figure!
    I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. May God bless you & yours this holiday.

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      I appreciate your kind words. A good friend of mine just lost her mother to cancer a few days ago. I’m sure many people who have lost ones around the holidays struggle with the memories while everyone else celebrates.

      I think my mother would be proud that I actually eat vegetables as an adult! You can keep the cranberries though!

      Hope you have a blessed day!!

  2. H.R.R. Gorman Avatar

    I’ve never heard of the Ritz Cracker Torte before, but it sounds like Pecan Pie in some respects. I’m rather intrigued…

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      As the story goes, mom clipped the recipe from a magazine. No doubt it was sponsored by Ritz to sell more crackers. I think she just wanted another pie option for the holiday and this one was unique. If you like the taste of walnuts (and super sweet), you may want o give it a try. I’ll send you the recipe!

      1. H.R.R. Gorman Avatar

        I’m supposed to eat more walnuts! I’m going to try it.

  3. Alexander Elliott Avatar
    Alexander Elliott

    Let me know what you think!

I'd love to hear from you!

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