Just as many pies
No need for a kids table
The kids are grown-ups
Setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner was always a big to-do, almost ceremonial. My father liked to orchestrate, enlisting several sets of hands to expand the heirloom table to a size that could accommodate a minimum of a dozen, generally more.
Consulting first with my mother for a headcount that was always changing, my father dove into the rear of the hall closet to unearth uncomfortable folding chairs with black leatherette seats supported by wooden legs. When unfolded, the chairs were guaranteed to pinch your fingers as you set them in place. My mother accumulated the chairs in the 60s and 70s when S&H green stamps were popular. Based on the number of folding chairs tucked away in the closet, my mother must have been collecting and redeeming stamps with a passion. My father loved to ‘supervise’ Thanksgiving, bantering back and forth with Jessie, the mastermind behind the dinner. Jessie padded across the kitchen, checking on the turkey in one oven, rotating pies in the other, adding a shake of Wondra flour to the pearl onions simmering in cream. In the dining room, my mother was going through an imposing stack of perfectly ironed linen tablecloths and a dizzying stack of napkins. Etched within the threads of the monograms were the generations of people who had once circled the table. My mother knew the history of each cloth. Up to her neck in tablecloths and napkins of varying sizes, her commentary was muffled beneath the damasks and jacquards...
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