Thanksgiving and Fancy Tablecloths

This year for Thanksgiving marks the first time since I was 11 years old that my entire family has been together for a holiday. My brother and sister and I are dear to each other and we’d be friends even if we weren’t related. We just haven’t always lived in the same state, and it hasn’t been easy to get together at the same time and place. And my 84-year-old dad’s decided that living along the California coast is where he wants to spend his days now. The entire clan will be at my house tomorrow, though, flying in or driving in from across the country.

The Fancy Tablecloth

thanksgiving table, 2002.

Although my mom died 3+ years ago already, her presence continues to be obvious, such as dressing the Thanksgiving table with the fancy hand-embroidered tablecloth she gave me shortly before she died. That tablecloth was her grandmother’s. It’s survived more spills and meals than any of us and yet it’s still snow white, stain-free, and breathtakingly beautiful in its simple elegance.

Earlier today I took it out of the sealed bag my mom had so carefully placed it into when she gave it to me. She’d pressed it perfectly, and memories of the moment she gave it to me flooded into my mind as I carefully unfolded it and placed it on my dining room table. We both knew her time on this earth was almost finished, and she wanted me to have the fancy heirloom tablecloth. I felt so honored to be entrusted with this sentimental gift. I hope I can keep it as beautiful as the way she gave it to me.

At the end of the evening tonight as the table was all set and ready for a busy Thanksgiving full of family tomorrow, I sat at the table and reflected on years past with all the family and friends who’ve shared laughter, tears, treasured moments, and disagreements. It’s amazing what pulling out a tablecloth can do to jog one’s memories.

That tablecloth was also on the table for Thanksgiving when I was 12 years old, as usual. That year in particular will be forever etched in my mind and heart. As we shared a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with the Rosell’s, the phone rang. We heard the news that my close friend Heidi and her family had just been killed on their drive to southern California. A drunk driver crossed the center divide and struck their car head-on, instantly killing Heidi, her mom, and her step-father. Heidi’s mom was Mrs. Rosell’s sister. We were all neighbors and had been close friends since Heidi and I were 6 months old.

Those who know my family also know that my own daughter’s name is Heidi. Now you know why.

It’s amazing the memories that can pour out just by unfolding a carefully pressed tablecloth in preparation for the next family Thanksgiving gathering.

I haven’t breathed a word to my family about the special tablecloth for our Thanksgiving dinner. That’s my surprise to them, and I’m loving every minute of it. I know my mom would be thrilled that we’re all finally together for a holiday. After all, she even pressed the tablecloth for the occasion.

11:11 pm, pst27 November, 2002 Comments, Trackbacks ·';}?>

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