A Reflection Before Thanksgiving

I won’t be home for Thanksgiving this year. I haven’t made it back for this holiday since I left for college. It’s a short break to be able to travel the 900 miles back home for, but I’m thinking of Thanksgiving back home.

Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house was always full. The table was full of classics, the house was full of jokes and hugs, and the turkey decoration above the fireplace was always wearing someone’s underwear on Thanksgiving morning. I love looking at the photo albums. The table is decked with a tablecloth bearing the signatures of everyone in the family. I wrote mine out when I was about six, and my grandmother stitched over it. We’ve been gathering in the same house for forty years.

This year my grandfather won’t be at the head of the table, and a few more family members will be missing. That’s the way life goes as you get older, I’m learning. I’m learning that the years feel shorter every year, but I’m also better able to look back at them and see how I have grown and changed and how my life has been mostly kind to me. I won’t be home for Thanksgiving this year but I’ll be in a home, and with people I love.

In Norse mythology, the god Odin has two ravens that sit on his shoulders. Their names are Huginn and Muninn, which mean “Thought” and “Memory.” Every day, the god would send the ravens flying out into the earth to bring back information. In one poem in the Poetic Edda, Odin says “O'er Mithgarth Hugin and Munin both / Each day set forth to fly; / For Huginn I fear lest he come not home, / But for Muninn my care is more.” I am afraid for the memories to leave me.

So here’s to memories, family, and thanks.