Sweet Home, Chicago
Last year I missed the big family Thanksgiving in Phoenix for the first time in about twenty years.
This year the family moved the celebrating from the chill of Arizona to the temperate climes of the greater Chicagoland area to be with my Aunt Pat, because she hasn't been up to much traveling of late. Pat is the last sister of my grandmother's generation. There were originally five sisters and one brother and they had seventeen children amongst them and then that generation gave birth to my generation.
As anyone who has been reading this blog for a couple of years will know, we're a close family and our Thanksgiving dinners usually have tables set for between fifty and seventy five folks. We're lucky enough to all enjoy each other's company; seems it never matters who you find yourself standing next to, you're just happy they're there.
So, anyway. Chicago.
This is where we're from, the Mervis clan, but it's been a very long time since we celebrated here, so I've been looking forward to the trip for some time.
When I was a kid, we celebrated holidays, birthdays, weddings and pretty much every weekend together on the banks of Honey Lake in Barrington on what was left of my great grandfather's farm. We ate together, swam together, laughed together and all the rest of it. We were well fed and there were always candy bars and soda pop and caviar and little clab craws and if it seems like a dream, it probably was. But memory makes everything better than it was, even the bad stuff, and our collective memory wears the nicest pair of rose colored glasses you're likely to find. The farm's long gone and we've spread out across the country, but we like any excuse to get together and make new memories.
So, this year in Chicago.
Then, a few weeks shy of the holiday, Pat passed away, leaving us without a member of her generation for the first time in our lifetimes. And that puts an air of sadness over everything. But this group, tends to find joy in sadness and I guess the lives of those that have passed are all the more reason to cling together and keep on churning out the good times.
So this Thanksgiving is for Pat. And Joy and Pook and Jack and Merv and Tweet and Babe. And Carolyn and Peter. And Nana and Grandpa. And Carl and Norm and Buddy and Milt and the Judge.
And for all the younger folks and new members of the clan that didn't get to meet everybody, go make enough new good times for the future generations to talk about.
It's Thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for . . .