Thanks-giving day is coming up and these days that gets us thinking of turkeys. It wasn’t always so!
Back in the 1930's, Depression days, turkeys weren’t on everyone's table. Jack’s father raised them so he knew them well, but I don’t ever remember having a turkey dinner until I was eleven years old and this was at Uncle Floyd Taylor’s for Thanksgiving.
He ran a grocery store and what a feast we had that year at his house! Besides turkey, dressing, gravy , we had mashed potatoes, squash, cabbage salad, celery, olives, radishes and cranberry conserve. All this was topped off with cake, sherbet, candy and nuts!
We paid a price for it though, snow had fallen all day and as we drove home to Geneva, by Rt. 5 and 20 (no thruway then) we inched our way along, Daddy driving and Ruth hanging out the passenger window, trying to see the side of the road and clear the windshield simultaneously. Those were cold drives!
Our usual Thanksgiving dinner was venison and maybe a chicken with it. We kept chickens at our house and while we had a pet rooster, Tommy, who came in the kitchen every Sunday morning before we went to Sunday School, (and yes, he usually pooped on the floor in his excitement!) we made sure we never made a pet of a hen. One doesn’t make friends with what may end up in one's pot..
We usually had Thanksgiving with the Taylor side of the family. Late November was too chancy for the roads in the hill country of Center Lisle and the beloved Bakers. I remember Mom usually brought pies, she was a grand pie maker!
And one year at Aunt Emily’s (she married B.W. and therefore was our step grandmother) she introduced us to the novelty of radish roses! (radishes slit so that ice water forms rose-like petals) She was a very caring person.
But the Thanksgiving I remember best was one at her house, 40 Porter Avenue, Batavia.. As we all crowded around the oval dining room table, laden with all sorts of succulent dishes, we bowed our heads for the usual grace before meals. “Bless this food to our use, O Lord, and us to thy service,” Grandpa B.W. intoned, and then added, “and let us each tell what we are thankful for?” My blood ran cold, for what WAS I thankful for?
Each thought that occurred to me seemed to be spirited away by someone before me. Uncle Leon was thankful for family, Aunt Clara spoke of the full table (on which dishes I knew were getting cold!). Harold, two seats from me squeaked out being thankful for new sneakers, and I knew he was, for his toes had stuck out of his others all fall! I thought to say thanks for the sunny day, but Doris, beside me, grabbed that thought so there I was, my turn and speechless!
What on earth WAS I thankful for–and then it popped into my head! Of course, I was thankful for those lovely radish roses, the very ones that Aunt Emily had spent an hour specially making for us. Doris smirked at my choice, but I didn’t care, for Aunt Emily had given me a big smile, so big that I could see her gold tooth in her mouth. I knew I’d pleased someone and God knew how thankful I was to have thought of a subject!
The above picture is of ( left to right) Arnon, Leon Taylor, B.W. Taylor, Harold, Doris, Ruth, Clara T.Burt (wearing hat), Lucille, Esther, Emily Taylor, Ethel Taylor, Mary A. Taylor.