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November 23, 2021 · OPINION

Stops Along the Way: Savor Thanksgiving and leftovers

Stock Photo
By Don Bachmann

For most of us Thanksgiving means a day of celebration – a day of enjoying gastric pleasures in a relaxed environment with family and friends.

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner would normally include a turkey with stuffing and gravy, homemade cranberry sauce concocted from a secret family recipe, assorted potato dishes, a medley of vegetables, and for dessert – a slice of the mandatory pumpkin pie â la mode.

But, before the celebration could begin, we would also give thanks for our many blessings and offer a prayer in remembrance of absent loved ones. And then, with this task discharged, we would indulge ourselves without remorse.

Plates were piled high with a selection of all the delicious offerings before us. Stories were told, toasts offered and casual exchanges yielded uninhibited laughter.

All were comfortable and secure.

It is a good tradition.

And, for anyone who follows this tradition, the feast isn’t over when one pushes oneself away from the table. It concludes with the hostess laboriously processing all the leftovers into take-home containers and then doling them out to her guests over their polite objections.

I am grateful for leftovers – for all the culinary delights that can be reproduced days later.

Do you ever notice how an excellent meal only seems to taste better when you prepare it a second or even a third time? Turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings can be savored yet again.

The same is true of memories – memories of times that have already passed, but can still be recalled and experienced yet again … the time when Sooty the dog snatched a drumstick from a turkey platter, the time when Dan and Laura announced their engagement, the time when Uncle Harry wept for his lost wife, the time when …

All are there.

As these thoughts flood into my mind, I realize that not one of those precious moments is really lost; every moment still resides within us only waiting to be brought forth. They are not moments of subtraction but of addition; they can be added to the whole of each of us.

Edmund Spenser once wrote, “For whatsoever from one place doth fall, is with the tide unto an other brought: For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.”

The poet had it right. There is nothing that is gone forever, not if we seek it with our hearts. The past mingles with the now and adds to the joy of our present lives. We live our lives for the times that ever were, for the times that are, and for the times that yet may be.

I look forward to savoring this year’s Thanksgiving feast with its leftover delights; I also look forward to savoring past memories and creating new ones that will continue to be savored for many years to come.

I wish the same for you.

Bon appétit.

The columnist lives near Orlean.
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