After 27 years of hosting Thanksgiving Dinner at our home, with yours truly doing most of the cooking, our kitchen will be cold, and our house silent (as silent as a house with four bickering dogs can be!). We will be going to Paulette and Scott's house for the family gathering. Sadly, the deteriorating condition of my hands due to arthritis will not allow me to do all of what is required to make a successful dinner. Oh, I will contribute a few things: stuffed mushrooms and my wife's requested green bean casserole; but no home made sweet potato casserole or my loved mashed red potatoes, or freshly made cranberry sauce. Paulette will make the stuffing from my recipe, and will brine the turkey. We are bringing our silverware and have already sent our Thanksgiving service settings. We have been requested to be there by 11:00 AM (We always ate in the late afternoon), and we will be there. It's a proud moment, to see our children hosting the family tradition. Next year, it will be Danielle and Alan's turn.
  This is a very sad time for me, though. The memories of the years echo with the laughter and happiness of a family sharing one special day together. My father in law, George, would come down from Albany, along with my brother in law Hal, his wife Debbie, and our niece Sara, and nephew Sam. We watched all the children grow from infants to young children to teenagers and adults. Friends, like Sue and Jimmy O'Conner and Sheila Reuther sometimes joined us. There were years when Sheryl was managing the UA Cinemas in Carmel, when I would cook the dinner, and haul it all down to the movie theater and feed the entire staff, along with our family. We never missed a beat. We were a loving, loud, happy family of mixed ethnicity, different religions, and a shared passionate love for each and every one of us. The wine and beer flowed, along with the cook, who inevitably ate very little, but some years drank  wa-a-a-ay too much (no little thanks to brother in law, Hal.. love you, pal!) 
 As the years wore on, George, sadly, has left us. Hal and Debbie have moved to the far end of Jersey, so we do not see them very much. Sue and Sheila are in Florida, and, even though everyone enjoyed the day, the anticipation of having an ever growing family come to our small house for dinner, started to wear a bit. Last year was the big split. We decided to cut it down and not have a big dinner by mutual agreement. We had a quiet day with just a few of the family members here. It just was not the same, and the ghosts of Thanksgiving's passed haunted my days. It will never be the same. It could never be the same. However, we will watch as the our children, who we loved and fretted over, and tried to raise right despite all the obstacles thrown in front of us, make the new traditions. I hope that they continue to host each other's families at Thanksgivings future, and to love each other fiercely. 
 Time passes, traditions are modified to accommodate changes within families. Love, however, should never change. It should remain vibrant and strong. That's what makes a family. 
 To my wife and my children, I love you all, and am happy to see you when I can. To all of my friends, wherever you are, regardless of your nationalities, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, because the spirit of this holiday transcends nationalities. May the spirits of Peace and Love follow you throughout your days.
 John Zaffino, Carmel New York November, 2013


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