My predilection for living in all tenses, past, present, and future, comes from my dad. People in our family (especially my mother, who didn't understand him at all) thought that he lived in the past, but as I get older--and more like him--I know that this was a false notion.
Holidays like this one send my mind racing back to past Thanksgivings when I was a kid. I remember how much Dad loved the day and how Grandmother always made him his own chocolate cream pie because he didn't like pumpkin. I remember how nostalgic Dad was and I recognized the look he always got on his face when he thought no one was looking. He was looking back to his own childhood, as well as to future Thanksgivings when he would be gone. At the same time, he was completely enjoying the present as well.
I find myself doing this now that I've scaled the "over 50" fence. As I think back on those days at either Grandmother's house or my Aunt Pat and Uncle Don's, I can't help but wonder what our family will become when Nettl and I are gone. Will they get together around the the table, remembering our Thanksgivings as a family? Will they talk about Nettl's apple pies and my jokes that always make Heather nearly spew? Will one of them live in the Thanksgiving time warp that has been passed down?
I've never understood families that get together on these special days just to fuss and fight, and wait impatiently for it to be over. Nothing lasts forever, and one day we may be all alone, looking back on our past holidays. None of us know where we will be then: palace or alley, surrounded by family or in a nursing home with no family left. How do we wish to remember our Thanksgivings? Would we prefer to remember fighting, or savoring it for the blessing that it is?
We will be there one day: our kids will be middle-aged and new generations will take the center of the family stage. If we can remember to exercise a little past-present-future consciousness, we can make memories that will comfort us when we're old.
May you and your family make pleasant memories today that will be remembered with love.