Holiday memories made by loved ones

As I write this, it’s the day after Thanksgiving 2018. I spent Thanksgiving Day with some dear friends from my church and, for some strange reason, I’m not very hungry today.

Thanksgivings of the past have kind of melded all together so that I’m not quite sure which Thanksgivings were which. But I must tell you that, in spite of the wonderful feast and friends of just yesterday, I can’t help but miss all the folks who used to come to my parents’ home, and then mine, in years gone by, like grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts, cousins and friends.

I have different friends now because the ones I hung out with, back some years, have all passed. As a matter of fact, all whom I mention here, except my sister, are gone now.

I remember Cousin Red, who, after being plied with a couple of shots of Seagram’s Crown Royal from Dad’s holiday stash, would say, “Another drink, and I’ll fly home!”

Fortunately, in spite of the fact that I doubt that two shots would make him airborne, he had a dedicated driver (one of his brothers) to take him home in Red’s 1938 Studebaker. However, maybe there was a bit of sneaking a few drinks in now and then.

Dad had what I’m sure was his very favorite job. He was bartender for the day and made sure everyone had more than enough liquid refreshments.

Uncle Ed would regale me with tales of a wonderful red U-control, gas-powered model airplane that he had made and was promising it to me. That never came about because my parents saw the extreme rpm’s that the propeller of a gas-powered model would produce and put the kibosh on Uncle Ed’s offer.

Since that red plane was never to be mine, Uncle Ed took Cousin Walter and me to Cleveland in his 1935 Ford roadster — the draftiest car I had ever ridden in — to buy me a couple of rubber band-powered Cleveland Model airplane kits. Nowadays, I can type with all fingers present.

Cousin Walter, who was stationed in the Baffin Islands during World War II, brought back huge black weather balloons for me. It took me practically all day to just blow up one of the several he had brought.

Aunt Jessie, whom I’d grown accustomed to seeing in her WAVE uniform, came to the dinner in her civvies and taught my sister and me some songs about her branch of service.

Aunt Elnora and Uncle Andy would bring poppy seed rolls that she made for dessert that Mother called kalotchsky. We all liked that after dinner treat. It was years before I knew that what they brought was actually a Slovak treat called kolachy.

My sister’s job was to help out in the kitchen, and my job was to snitch dill pickle slices, stuffed olives and radishes off the dining table.

I did have a favorite task, though. Mom would clamp a meat grinder onto the kitchen counter, and my job was to grind up cranberries and orange slices with their rinds into something that made a wonderful relish at the dinner table. I loved the popping sound of the cranberries as they met their fate.

After dinner, all the grown men would sit around in the living room with the radio tuned to a football game of choice. I don’t believe any of them heard much of the game. They all dozed off while the women toiled away at cleaning up the dining table and washing and putting away the pots, pans and dishes.

I diplomatically offered to help dry the dishes, but I never got that assignment. After all, this was Mom’s good china.

Mumford, of Warren, can be reached at columns@tribtoday.com

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