The only family events I remember as a child was the Sundays we spent going to my mother’s parents who lived on the lower east side of Manhattan. They were poor and worked hard to support and feed their 7 children. I don’t remember if it was a certain Sunday of the month but all sisters and brothers would bring their spouses and children to my grandparents who lived in a 6 flight walkup in what was referred to as ‘railroad’ apartment with each room laid out one after the other all leading to the large living room where we all sat around a large table and ate. After we were finished grandma took all the kids down to what was referred to as the ‘lower’ east side, Orchid street, where we would get a chance to pick out a huge sour pickle from barrel. I don’t remember celebrating holidays except Passover. I do remember the 5 sisters, who were very competitive, always would have shouting matches ending with everyone leaving mad.

The only time I had a traditional Christmas dinner was when I lived in Memphis and my lover, at that time, took me up to Covington where his folks, grandparents, cousins, nephews, etc. would gather with all the adults pitching in to make the humongous meal. My job became ‘the Yankee who picked the greens’ from the garden in back for the soups. For some reason everyone got a big laugh out of that happening. It was great–I loved the dressing his grandmother made and every year, after she found out that I liked it, made a separate pan just for me.

Though I would give many Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners over the years, usually having open house, I finally stopped when I made the decision to live alone but I never forgot those Covington, Tennessee, Thanksgivings. There was such a feeling of family that the warmth just wrapped around you. Even when we broke up I was always invited and I remember those days over 38 years ago as if they were yesterday.

Posted December 23, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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