This Thanksgiving comes after a year full of turkeys—and not the feathered kind.  Rather then further depress myself and you by enumerating a whole flock of social, political, pandemical and climatological turkeys, I am going to look back at what now seems a simpler, happier time (even if it wasn’t)—my childhood Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in my family was always—like Halloween—a truly fun holiday.  In our small house in Stockton, California, where my mother single-handedly turned out a delicious traditional meal while worrying about what her mother (my “Gammy”) would find lacking, we had a good time.  

There were bumps:  my grandmother and her third husband usually arrived hours early—right after visiting the grave of her second husband on the way to our house.  Every few hours, Gammy would sneak into the bathroom and smoke while my dad handed out bourbon-and-sevens to the arriving aunts and uncles.  My three-year-old sister Liz enlivened the party one year by asking my obese Aunt Addie, “Why are you so fat?”  

The crisis of the meal prep was always the gravy.  Heaven forbid if it was lumpy.  It wasn’t until I was married and making gravy myself that I learned it wasn’t worth all that agony.  Had they never heard of a whisk?  

My grandma’s masterpiece was pumpkin pie.  We all looked forward to it.  I thought my Gammy was the best pie-maker in the world.  Unfortunately, she refused to share her recipe and instead took it to her grave. Now, instead of thinking of her fondly every Thanksgiving, we remember what a turkey she was not to share.  

Here’s hoping that by next Thanksgiving we will all be in a better state of mind, body and body politic.




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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