By Louann Jeffries
I will never forget the Thanksgiving of 1975. It was a truly different and unforgettable Thanksgiving.
At the time, my husband David and I were living in our first home and as luck would have it that year, it was his turn to work midnights the week of Thanksgiving. Knowing that we would not be making it to our parents’ homes on the day itself we celebrated with them earlier.
When Thanksgiving Day itself arrived I was rather blue and lonely. Here it was, Thanksgiving, a day to not only be thankful but for our family the very start of Christmas Season and while my husband rested in our upstairs bedroom I watched the Thanksgiving Day parade on TV in a blue fog.
I was positive this was going to be the worst Thanksgiving EVER. Until the phone rang.
It was my dear sister. Her name is Margaret but I call her Nani. She too was lonely, and also had the same blue fog about her. She wondered if she might stop by.
It seemed as though the whole room filled with sunshine right at that moment as I gave her a resounding “Yes!” I could not wait for her to arrive.
When Nani arrived we stayed very quiet, talked, laughed and listened to Christmas music. I was making Christmas ornaments for that year’s Christmas tree from a kit. They were needlepoint ornaments that also had to have batting put in them. I finished a couple while chatting happily with Nani, as we both happily sipped a special warmed cinnamon spice cider.
Nani asked what I was going to do with the left over batting and I told her I would throw it out. She decided to be creative. She asked if we had anything she could use for a “project” while she was there, something that could be cut as she wanted to make an ornament too.
I happened to remember a box of unopened plain white handkerchiefs someone had given David the Christmas before. I went and got one of those and she said it was perfect. I could not imagine what she was going to do. She began cut a tree shape out of the hankie, got some sequins I was not going to use and began to fashion all of this into a Christmas tree ornament.
She sewed the two tree shapes (one for front and one for back of course) with all the care of someone working on a gown for the Queen, carefully placed the batting inside and then sewed the sequins on.
What resulted is to this day one of my very favorite ornaments. Nani says it is the ugliest thing she has ever seen. I say different. It was created on a Thanksgiving Day while two sisters visited and laughed and chatted and when life was all good. It may not have been a traditional Thanksgiving but for me it is one of my most beloved ones.
That ornament still goes as close to the top of the tree in a very special place each year. When I see it, I see those two sisters in my mind, happily enjoying the day and each other’s company. There was no turkey or stuffing, not one ounce of cranberry sauce, not one crumb of pumpkin pie but being together that day fed something in both of us, nourished us in a way physical food cannot.