Ever since my Grams died, Thanksgiving has never been the same for me.
Each year, the family would converge on the San Pedro house for Thanksgiving - all the aunts, uncles and cousins in my grandparents' tiny house. My Grams would be up at the crack o'dawn baking pies from scratch. Uh huh, scratch. The amazing thing? She'd bake pies for all of her neighbors, the nuns at the church next door, co-workers and her own family dinner. She was Marie Callendar (only much better)!
The spread was the usual Thanksgiving fare, along with family favorites: rice, long rice, chicken adobo, poi. And, the pies. Oh, the pies! Pumpkin, pumpkin pecan, apple, sweet potato for my Dad, and lemon meringue for me (she actually would make 2 - one with and one without meringue). I felt sorry for first-time visitors who brought pies. No one would touch 'em. No one could touch Grams' pies! (Side bar: at her funeral, one of her long-time friends mentioned something about missing her pies. The entire congregation groaned as one.)
The first Thanksgiving after she died, I went to Las Vegas to spend time with my former college roommate and her family. It was a great weekend! But the subsequent Thanksgivings were really nothing of note. Until my sister started hosting her in-laws.
The first year she hosted, there were about 75 people. This year, she hosted 30 of us. And the spread was the shit! Turkey, prime rib, ham, hot links, greens, potato salad, mac and cheese (ohh yeah!), corn bread, stuffing and tamales (I know!). All of the desserts were home-made - lemon cake, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, German chocolate cake, apple pie, peach cobbler. Good grief! Carb coma.
My sister, niece and I talked about our favorite Grams' memories...made my heart smile. No, it'll never be the same. But, it's close.