Worth the Work

Thanksgiving 2021 table place cards

Growing up, Thanksgiving was kinda a big deal. I grew up in a modest ranch home in a little suburban, working class town in Massachusetts. When the leaves started to turn and there was a chill in the air, my Mom would spend many a night perched on the stool in the kitchen ringing up each of my father’s five sisters and his mother, Nonna. Altogether, she’d be coordinating a feast for about fifty.

The weekend before Thanksgiving was an event in and of itself. We’d all pile up in my Dad’s red Chevy truck and head to the church hall to pick up fifty folding chairs and enough folding tables to hold the feast and all the fixings. We’d be lifting, pushing, vacuuming and laughing and sneezing all in preparation for the gathering of all gatherings.

Thanksgiving eve would come and my sister and I would be finishing up the place cards and arranging the seating. When those cards were out, carefully placed at each seat, I’d head to bed giddy with anticipation for the day ahead.

Those days of Thanksgiving at my Mom’s are distant yet vivid memory. Here I sit, preparing to host a myself and those place cards still excite me. I’ve kept many from the years I’ve hosted and even have one my Aunt Carol made from long ago. There’s something about a place card that helps me prepare for each person – each person that I get to spend Thanksgiving with, in my home — for that I am grateful.

My place “card” Thanksgiving 1970 something
Massachusetts Thanksgiving circa 1980 something

6 thoughts on “Worth the Work”

  1. The red Chevy gave me picture book vibes…along with your mom calling up the relatives. You’re gearing up for something great. Your guests are lucky to have you as their host.


  2. Today’s slices are such treats! I am loving the reflections on past Thanksgivings and all the family feels! I wish so much that my own family would come and join us for Thanksgiving this year, but Covid has slammed the door on that. There is nothing like the memories of past holidays and time spent together! Blessings to you as you “ring up” the good times! Love that expression.


  3. The details in this post created a vivid picture (and I love the real picture!). Reading between the lines, I’m inferring that your mom was a very special lady. Now that my own kids are grown and have taking over hosting a rather large crowd at holiday dinners, I can see that the seeds planted long ago have taken root and they, too, treasure the gift of family. Have a wonderful day!


  4. Oh, I long for those house-filling holidays when we all lived close. I’d plan for days, scour magazines for centerpiece and place card inspiration and pray for everything to turn out. Truth is, the food was secondary to the ritual of gathering, sharing, a moment that made even doing the dishes seem like a communion. Happy Thanksgiving.


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