They’re back…I first posted this exactly two years ago. Today, unaware of the anniversary of this piece, the family memories began flooding in. Re-reading this moved me to share again.
There are ghosts in my kitchen. They show up every year just about now. The women in my family who loved me and taught me to cook in their kitchens are all gone now, but their presence is palpable. I feel them all around me as I begin to pull together our Thanksgiving meal, and I am comforted.
I pull out the blue bowl that my mother always used to serve her cranberry sauce, and the cream-colored ceramic bowl that we used to make the pumpkin custard for our pies. Her brown pie plate is still perfect for my crust and I read the recipe from a dog-eared sheet of paper written out in my father’s hand-writing.
Our meal will be served on dishes I inherited from my grandmother that include her beautiful serving dishes. Wine will be poured into the Waterford goblets my folks gave me so long ago when I was a young bride. The silver flatware was a wedding gift to my parents when they married in 1948. My mother used it every day.
As I begin on the cranberry relish, I can close my eyes and hear the sounds of my family around me. My Hungarian grandmother is pink-cheeked from her annual martini as she sharpens the knife to carve the turkey. She did such a better job than did my maternal grandfather, who is in the living room with “the guys”, either playing chess or idly watching a football game. Mama and her sister, my aunt, are bickering a bit, as usual, but they will pull the meal together and serve it on the table that sits in my dining room now. My maternal grandmother, “Moo Moo”, is making gravy and crying softly as she stirs. “What’s wrong, Moo Moo?” I ask her. “I’m crying because I’m so happy to have our family together, my darling.”
After the meal, my grandfather, Daddy and my uncle will shoo us out of the kitchen and launch into the clean-up. My mother and Aunt Ann will kick off their high heels and each light up a cigarette. Grandma and Moo Moo will both agree that this was our best Thanksgiving “ever”. I lie on the sofa with my head in someone’s lap and feel surrounded with love from the women – and men – in my family.
There are ghosts in my kitchen. I cherish them and hold them close to my heart. Happy Thanksgiving.