Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.
I love the low pressure of Thanksgiving. No presents involved, no equating the value of siblings’ gifts. There’s no wondering if you should wish Merry Christmas or Kwanzaa or Happy Hannukah.
Thanksgiving is purely about gratitude. For families with whom to celebrate. For the aroma of roasting turkey. For tastebuds that groove on cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. For stomachs that manage to digest gluttonous amounts. And for the chance to enjoy all this in our free and amazing country.
For many years while our boys were growing up, the Farbman family Thanksgiving supper took place at our house in Huntington Woods, later in Franklin. Don’t give me too much credit. Everyone contributed a dish. But I set the table and reserved the privilege of roasting the turkey.
As son David and daughter-in-law Nadine will now attest, cooking is challenging with young boys in the house. Realizing this, Burton began what turned into an annual tradition. When our boys were about 5 and 8, on Thanksgiving morning Burton took them out for breakfast so I could prepare. He drove David and Andy downtown in search of restaurants and discovered the options were limited. They ended up visiting one place for sliders, another for tamales, and so on. They even brought home a delicious, still warm tamale for me.
This odyssey became a tradition that continued for about 20 years. Several of the boys’ friends joined in. It was a highlight of the year, resulting in camaraderie and funny stories. Owners kept their restaurants open until our gang showed up. Burton took a photo of the group with one restaurant owner and delivered it to him. Every year after, they saw their photo proudly hung on the wall.
The highlight of highlights was pulled off by Aaron Boesky, Andy’s best childhood friend, who now lives in Hong Kong. One year when he was out of town, Aaron had a cake delivered to the taco restaurant. The owner presented it to our gang when they arrived. On the cake was a message: “Screw you, Gringos!” (Actually he used a more colorful verb, but in respect to my readers, I amended it.)
Thanksgiving Day road trips ceased when our sons were grown and we no longer hosted the annual dinner. But the laughs and the brotherhood linger on in memories and photo albums. And our grandsons are growing older.
(Do you have any favorite family traditions? I’d love to hear about them.)