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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

There’s no place like home for the holidays

Nov 03, 2016 06:01PM ● By Arnold Bornstein

Some things seem to stay in your mind forever. When I was 12 years old, my mom, sister and I went to visit my oldest brother George at Fort Knox, Kentucky during World War II. The holiday season was underway and he was undergoing basic training.

We were sitting at a table in the Post Exchange, the military equivalent of a store, cafeteria and beer hall. My mother was very upset because George had injured his hand on a tank hatch. He abruptly tried to change the subject.

“Do you know they had to take some songs out of the jukebox?” he asked rhetorically. “They took out ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas.’ Some guys would have a few too many beers, hear the song and end up going AWOL.”

I was driving home the other day when they started talking about Thanksgiving on the car radio. Remembering what my brother said came to me like the momentary flashbacks used in the movies.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and other than religious holidays, it’s perhaps the most family-oriented holiday on the calendar. Whether away at school or living and/or working out of town, many people make an extra effort to try to be home for Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving weekend is considered one of the airline industry’s most traveled periods. It’s also a peak period for the phone companies, as callers know that families are generally gathered at one place.

Thanksgiving played a major role in meeting my wife’s family. We had been seeing each other for about three months when I was invited to Linda’s parents’ home for Thanksgiving dinner.

Her mother had a sister and two brothers, and each year the dinner rotated to a different household. That year it was Linda’s parents’ turn. As you can imagine, it’s not easy for anybody to be introduced to a new family, particularly when the occasion includes future aunts and uncles and their children.

I felt stress and tension, of course, like I was being studied or auditioned, but after a while things calmed down and I felt reasonably at ease. Some four months later, we got married. I think my wife and I rotated a few Thanksgivings between our respective families after that.

Naturally, my wife’s family continued to grow and eventually the annual tradition of the Thanksgiving gathering became too large for one household. The decision was made to try holding it in a private room in a restaurant. It wasn’t the same, of course, and a year or two later the respective and still-growing families of the two sisters and two brothers split up into having Thanksgiving dinner with their own immediate families.

We all have early memories of Thanksgivings past—of voices and laughter that can no longer be heard, except in the mind’s ear, and of faces and bodies that can no longer be seen, except in the mind’s eye. It is truly a family holiday in which we give thanks for the past as well as the present. Wherever your port may be, your home is your anchor.

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