Nostalgia in the Making

The nostalgia is kicking into high gear for me this week. Thanksgiving does this to me. Family and food are two of my favorite things, so growing up this was one of my favorite holidays.  You don’t need to guess my actual #1 favorite…. you know it. #FreeToysFromSanta

So, when I drove down my street this morning and saw the above, a basketball sitting alone on the sidewalk, my mind floated back 40 years to when that basketball would have been mine.

The picture says childhood to me. Replace the basketball with a bike or jump rope or a bunch of chalk… it is all the same to me. As children, we leave a wake in our path of fun. This lonely basketball was in someone’s hands, bouncing around, part of a game or solo practice. It will be bounced back to life by a kid who recovers it, or not. It might just be picked up by a frustrated or angry parent or grandparent.

We keep hearing about, or even talking about, how children of today have no idea what it’s like to play. They don’t know the freedom of staying out until the lights come on. However, this basketball tells me a different story.

Sure, our childhoods were different from the ones today. And evident from the “Back in my day!” stories from our parents or grandparents, our childhoods were different from theirs. They are different, but I can still see a childhood laying on that sidewalk.

I have a kitchen counter, a pantry, and a refrigerator filled to the brims with food, waiting to be used to form a copy-cat version of my Grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner. This year, I’m cooking for about 15 family members, and my heart keeps skipping as I get excited to have everyone to our house. I will make Grandma’s stuffing, and fill our 20lb bird with it. (I know you aren’t supposed to… but COME ON! I use a thermometer.) I will add some sides of my own to her meal. I will welcome family who have their own recipes in dishes and plates.

This will not be a complete copy-cat Thanksgiving. My grandfather won’t be in the other room screaming at the TV, chain-smoking and waiting to carve the bird.  My uncles won’t be teasing my mom and aunt to the brink of tears. My uncle won’t sneak extra sage into the stuffing. He wouldn’t need to since I already do. Those days are “Back in my day!”

What I am so excited for is the new memories we can create as a family for my kids, my nephew, and my husband’s cousins’ kids. I look forward to sharing a meal I hope is cooked on time and ready for their hungry bellies. I look forward to extending our dining room table with our kitchen table, and probably our table from the patio. I look forward to kids saying “this is my favorite!” and knowing they will remember that food.

More importantly, they will remember the time spent together. “Remember when we used to…?”  “Do you remember when we went to Kim and Jason’s?” (If I had my way, that would be about every year, but I’ll take what I can get.)

Won’t it be great to make memories that will one day become their “Back in my day!” stories?

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