November has me appreciating chilly mornings, fall foliage, hearty soups, and sweaters. Gratitude spills out as I prepare for Thanksgiving and remember past traditions and gatherings that have warmed my heart.
This year we will host Thanksgiving and savor time with friends we haven’t seen in a while. Ever the planner, I begin. First the guest list is secured, the menu set, and the turkey ordered. Next an extra leaf is added to the dining room table to seat 10 guests, and then covered with a cream tablecloth. Digging deep in a drawer of the china cabinet I search for coordinating napkins. Unexpectedly, I pull out a sealed package of twelve napkins tied with red satin ribbon. The label reads, “Pure Irish Linen, Made in Ireland, Broadway Department Stores.” Surprised, I remember this package of napkins. They were a wedding gift, not for me, but for my parents in December of 1942. I felt like Howard Carter opening the tomb of King Tut, in awe of these beautifully untouched 80-year-old linen napkins and wondering what stories they held.
Why had my parents saved these? Were they waiting for a special occasion to use them? Or, like me, had the napkins just gone unnoticed? Moments like these have me wishing I’d asked more questions while my parents were alive. I wish I could sit down at the kitchen table with my mom and dad over a cup of tea and ask those questions and express my gratitude for their subtle gestures of love that enrich my life. As I place each napkin around the table, I know this Thanksgiving will be a very special occasion.