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Hindsight: Thanksgiving

Laura Hinds reflects on Thanksgiving in Danvers.

Although many things have changed in our corner of the world over the years, Thanksgiving traditions seem to hold true in Danvers. The big football rivalry of Danvers vs Gloucester continues on, decade after decade. The big family meals are still a staple of the holiday.

The above paragraph may seem just fine to you; but it’s wrong. Long before the Danvers-Gloucester Thanksgiving Rivalry, the Danvers Royal Blues played against the Saugus Sachems. I have a scrapbook of news articles from 1939 to prove it (look for it on Danvers Patch this upcoming week), and the rivalry was just as intense as the Danvers-Gloucester showdowns.

As for the big family meals remaining a staple of the holiday, well that is true, but perhaps to a lesser extent than it used to be. People seem to wander more, from house to house, visiting friends and family rather than just gathering in one old homestead. They also are often planning to hit the Black Friday sales, with stores that open earlier than ever this year. When I was growing up, we ate at home and either visited close family or had company after the big meal. We were a small family, but had cousins around town, and I do remember going to visit the White’s on Putnam Street on many a Thanksgiving.

One year stands out more than others do to me. I was sick, with some sort of stomach bug, and resting on the sofa in our living room feeling both sick and sorry for myself.

That afternoon, my cousin Bev, came to visit. She’d very carefully prepared a plate for me with all of the fixings from her family’s big dinner. Bev, being one of six children, has always been kind and thoughtful. She is not the one closest in age to me, but she was my friend and my mother’s Godchild as well. It is now probably 35 years if not more, since Bev took the time and made the effort to be sure that I had a Thanksgiving dinner.  Despite not feeling well, I ate because she brought it with love, and it did help me to feel better.  I do not know if Bev will remember this, but I hope she reads it and knows that I do, and how very much it meant to me.

Since we didn’t have a big Thanksgiving event at home, my mother would try to create memories the best she could. There was a framed picture she had, showing a cat lying in front of a potbellied stove, waiting for something to finish cooking.  Mom tried to set a similar scene, and somehow lured my cat, Charlie Brown, the lie down on a braided rug and watch our stove, for the bird to be done. Looking at these photos today has warmed my heart, and I hope that Patch readers will like them too.

This year, we won’t be going to a football game, as I did all through high school. My parents are both long gone, although the six years since mom died doesn’t seem like long ago. We will celebrate the holiday with my sister Barbara, and our nephew, James, so we will be with family and I am most thankful for that.

We won’t be going to any Black Friday sales; we prefer to sit back and enjoy our memories of the year that is nearly gone by. Well, of course, there is football to watch on television, so in that respect a tradition continues.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving full of peace, light and family.

Bev Barrett November 19, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Laura, What memories you hold in your head! I don't remember that Thanksgiving day. I do however remember the rivalry between Glouster and Danvers. A few years back my family and I left sunny CA to be in Danvers for thanksgiving. We froze our butts off in the stands but wouldn't of had it any other way. Robbie and his family drove down from Tyngsboro and we all sat in the stands to watch my nephew Timmy play for DHS.

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