Thanksgiving was always one of those GREAT Holidays when I was a kid...four days off from school, lots and lots of family, and usually some football.
Football was not just sitting in front of the TV and watching…back then the number of games offered were small compared to today. A pro game or two, a few college games on Friday and Saturday. But what I am talking about was our Thanksgiving Football out in the street, or over at the lawn of what is now a major water sewage plant in South Sacramento. We typically would start out in the street…and if enough of the neighborhood came out, it would move over to the huge lawn of the water treatment plant (which was 1/3 of the size it is now, which meant 2/3 of it was lawn back then…lots of lawn.) Of course, everyone had to be back to the neighborhood by 1:30 or 2:00 so that nobody miss out on the big Thanksgiving Dinner. And there were those few times that we had Thanksgiving away…but typically it was right there at our house or at another relative’s house in Sacramento.
There always seemed to be lots of family. My dad had a brother who lived in town for much of my childhood, and that meant 4, then 8 cousins. Aunt Myrtle passed when I was very young, leaving four children for Uncle Red to raise. In his wisdom, he quickly (about a year later) married Aunt Flo, who had three kids…and having a child together brought the glue which held the family together, hence, the eight cousins. There were also times that other cousins from mom’s side might show up too…as one of eleven kids, there were lots of cousins from her nine brothers and sisters who survived the war. Then there might be others who were invited ... the FINOs, Family in Name Only ... lot's of those in our family. One FINO quickly became my second adopted sister by proclamation read at mom and dad's 50th anniversary. Sandy was adopted legally when we were young (she is a few years younger than I, and I WAS the baby back then.) Patti was Sandy's older biologic sister, younger than me though, who, as an adult, came into our family...and it did not take a proclamation for her to be my sister. As for large dinners, one 4th of July I think we had close to a hundred people for a backyard BBQ…although it probably was closer to 60 or 70, kids always remember things as being larger than they really were...but that was Independence Day...this is Thanksgiving.
Including the size of the Turkey…or should I say Turkeys. They always seemed bigger back then compared to today's turkeys. Also, the craziness that seemed to abound … I think my mom would be scolding us kids all day long…perhaps that’s why we always went to the park to play ball. And not that “we kids” did not deserve to be scolded…at least she didn’t have to put us in the “corner” for hours on end…except that time poor cousin Richard was in the corner and mom ran to do an errand and forgot he was there…until a few hours later when she got home and there was poor Rich still in the corner. These days poor mom would have ended up in jail…now days the kids get away with everything and they are the ones that end up in jail…go figure.
There was always lots of food, and we all ate and ate and ate. My favorite was what was called “David’s Salad” … a jar or two of Kraft Pimento Cheese Spread, mixed together with a large tub or two of Cool Whip (and before the premade Cool Whip you get in the store today, you had to mix up a batch or two by hand with a Dream Whip powdered mix.) Add some drained mix fruit like Fruit Cocktail, Mandarin Oranges, Crushed Pineapple, and then the best part, bags and bags of mini marshmallows. Yep, that’s David’s Salad...NOT Patti's Salad (should have included that note in the proclamation mom and dad.) Sister Sandy called me last night, late afternoon her time in California, to let me know that she was in the midst of making my salad, thought of me, remembered it was my birthday, so she called. I told her that I had made ours earlier that morning to take to Marcia’s brother’s house today. Now, IF you make this the day before, which is the best time to make it, you DON’T add the marshmallows until a few hours before you want to serve it. Also, it is BEST to start making it the day before because the Pimento Cheese has a chance to flavor up the Cool Whip. But don't add the marshmallows too early, they get soggy. YUM!
Hope you all have a wonderful