Sappy start to Thanksgiving a holiday tradition

Every year when the broadcast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade begins, I tear up.

This is a great source of amusement at my house, with Dan and Ainsley eager to supply their annual admonition of what a dork I am. I agree it's ridiculous, but I can't help it.

Every year, I try to figure out what it is about the parade that hits such an emotional chord with me.

I wonder if it's memories of watching the parade on the black and white television that sat on a cart in the kitchen of my childhood home. My mom would be in the background, cooking the sausage for her homemade stuffing.

Thanksgiving was the only holiday we hosted when I was a kid, and I loved having our family gather around our dining room table. We had these small turkey and pilgrim candles that we'd put on the table every year, and I often made a popsicle stick log cabin or construction paper scene for them to inhabit. The candles sit on my kitchen windowsill as I write this, and they still make me smile.

I loved helping in the kitchen while the parade was on, neatly slicing the canned cranberry sauce so it would lay perfectly in the cut glass dish we always served it in. I enjoyed arranging the olives and pickles in their little dish as well, and once, the story goes, ate most of the pickles right out of the jar. I don't remember that or throwing up after, which I also apparently did.

I think even as a kid, I must have had an appreciation for the simplicity of the holiday. There were no presents to open, no eggs to hunt for. We would simply gather, give thanks and enjoy the feast.

Only two people who sat at that table with me are still alive, and I haven't seen them for a long time. But I remember us all being together as if it were yesterday.

When I hear the TV announcer welcome viewers to Macy's annual event, I suppose I am remembering much more than just watching the parade and arranging olives. I'm remembering a house filled with laughter and love. Perhaps my tears are a wish that I could, just for a moment, return. For a hug. And maybe a pickle.

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean