The Holidays Are Dead To Me & Other Things That Make Me Happy

The holidays are dead to me.

The holidays are dead to me.

     Which is a big reason this is one of the best times of the year.

By “dead,” I actually mean THE dead, as in those who have passed.

     I love how they have a way of taking a seat at my holiday table.

Something tells me they might be at yours, as well.

     From the moment I pull my grandmother’s pressed glass serving pieces from the cabinet that came from great Aunt Doris’s home, I feel their spirits filling up my home.

     The passed down recipes only add to this wonderful feeling.

My late mother, Phyllis, at one of the last holidays she spent in my home. Thanksgiving 2010.
My late mother, Phyllis, at one of the last holidays she spent in my home. Thanksgiving 2010.

     “Make sure you smush all the water out,” I could hear my late mother instructed me as I whipped up her creamed spinach soufflé casserole.

My friend, Amanda, passed earlier this year. There was no way I was doing Thanksgiving without her taste bud-exploding jalapeno pomegranate cranberry relish.

Amanda Kyle Williams‘s beyond amazing jalapeno cranberry relish recipe described in her own words.

     Our friends, Craig and Michael, joined us this year about a month after Craig’s mother and father both passed away within weeks of each other.

     “Can you do the gravy?” I asked Craig, thinking I was simply assigning one of the random Thanksgiving tasks I don’t enjoy.

     I didn’t expect the catch in his voice.

     “I just wrapped up my mother’s gravy boat as I was cleaning out her kitchen. It sat on her table for every Thanksgiving for my entire life. Would it be okay if we served it that?” he asked.

     Are you kidding me? I couldn’t imagine a higher honor.

     As we gathered around our table and gave thanks, you know we made sure to toast Nell and her gravy boat.

     There were a few tears and a warm glow you can’t buy in a Hallmark store.

     Memories, grief, gratitude.

     The older I get, the more this is what holidays are made of.

     The seasoning, the celebration, the missing of whom I have loved.

     Truth is, my departed loves are here year-round.

     It’s like the fresh red stain I now have from making Amanda’s relish while wearing a white t shirt.

     Once you love someone, they never really leave.

     Wearing a white t shirt to mix up cranberries and pomegranate seeds?

     That wasn’t my smartest move.

     Befriending Amanda?

     Beyond brilliant.

     I will think of her throughout the year.

     Along with my mom, my grandmother, Aunt Doris, Nell.

     But life goes fast.

     I don’t make nearly enough time.

     Except for now.

     This time of year.

     When I slow down enough to sit down with them at my table.

     Which departed loves are at your holiday table?

     How do they show up?

     I’d love to know.

Please share them and their special dish, even better, the recipe in the Comments section below.

And if you like this post, you might like my latest book,

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”



The Holidays Are Dead To Me & Other Things That Make Me Happy

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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