The coming of Thanksgiving each year always sets my mind in motion, stirring up memories as easily as I stir up the foods for the table. Memories can be sweet or they can be sad, and this special season brings both.
1963...I was a Junior in high school. I sat in Mr. Marley's history class when a knock came at the door. Mr. Marley spoke with the teacher who'd come to deliver a message, then he closed the door and reported to the class that President John F. Kennedy had been killed by an assassin.
The Junior Prom was scheduled for that night...obviously it was postponed.
The next day I was off on a British cruise ship, bound for Bermuda. The activities at departure were somber in honor of the late President...no confetti, no parties, nothing 'fun' until after the church services on Sunday. As it happened, my 16th birthday was also that week and fell on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. The ship had planned the Captain's Dinner for that day, as well, and the food and festivities were wonderful. It was a semi-formal occasion, and I wore my prom dress...a sleeveless dress that I loved. It had a red velvet top with a cinched waist with a lace-up at the front for looks. The skirt was white organza over taffeta...it fell softly and swished when I walked.
The ship's orchestra played in the dining room, and when my Aunt Sis and I entered, they were tipped off of our arrival, and they began to play "Ain't She Sweet". Our waiter, Tom, had requested it and dedicated it to me. (I had such a crush on him! My knees would actually shake when I saw him at each meal, and could hardly eat!) The Maitre D' made a big 'show' of bringing me a flaming baked alaska with a red banner on it that read "Happy Birthday Kathy" written in icing. I don't know how the ribbon managed not to burn!
It was a fantastic way for me to spend my Sweet Sixteen birthday, and I treasure those special memories. Each year, I silently send a special 'thank you' to Aunt Sis who is no longer with us, for taking me on that birthday cruise. The week was a special get away to a tropical place, with an aunt that I thought the world of.
I've had many Thanksgiving days in my lifetime, but that year was probably the second most memorable. You'll have to wait for another day when I'll share the one that is highest on the list of Thanksgiving thoughts.