Thanksgivings past

I remember very traditional Thanksgiving dinners growing up on Mill Street in Bristol Borough.  Our immediate family, mother, father, four sisters and I were frequently joined by Nanny (mom’s mother) or Nanny’s sister Lucy.  I think Uncle Albert (Dad’s brother) Aunt Carol, Skip and Paul came down from Flushing, NY.  some years.  They eventually arrived in an RV which would be parked in the lot along the river behind our apartment.  Getting a tour was always a treat.   Their visit would prompt visits from the families of Dad’s other brothers, Tom and Frank.  Grandpop Profy would stop in and he may have eaten with us a few times, not always.

Mother with some help from my sisters prepared a turkey with bread stuffing, mashed and candied sweet potatoes, a vegetable like string beans, corn or peas, canned jellied cranberry sauce, maybe apple sauce, green salad, some bread or corn muffins, celery, olives, and probably pie for dessert.  Red wine was pretty standard.

Entertainment for the day would have been a walk to visit the Mignoni family on Radcliffe Street (Mom’s sister).  And we watched the Philadelphia and New York City Thanksgiving Day parades on TV.  Father (and later me) wasn’t a big TV sports fan.  But Uncle Albert might put on a football game.  I recall one year he doned a helmet and ran around the house with a football.  Several years we went to the annual Bristol- Morrisville High School football game.  That may have been arranged by my future brother-in-law, Louis.

I think  Diane and I cooked two Cornish hens on an indoor rotisserie in our Boston apartment our first Thanksgiving after getting married.  For years afterwards Thanksgiving would be at Smith’s in Carmel, NY.  Diane’s Aunt Louella and Uncle Mackie always came.  Her Mom cooked a traditional turkey dinner.  Turnips and parsnips, however, were new to me.  As was mincemeat pie with hard sauce. Several years Mr. Smith took us to Black Pond to skeet shoot, another new experience.    We had a white Lab, Luz who came with us.  One year we were presumably hunting, deer, birds, but we didn’t shoot or even see anything to hunt but the woods walk was fun.

After Jenny was born and we bought our Yardley house, we either cooked at home or went to my parents or later my sister Cissi’s in Bristol.  She and Louis frequently host large gatherings for family and friends.  Since Jenny’s marriage and the arrival of two grand children we have usually hosted them at home.  Since Jenny is a vegetarian for number of years our main course was salmon.  But now we have seafood and turkey.  Diane also likes her mother’s parsnips and turnips in addition to the traditional sides.

One year  I bought a Bourbon Red heritage turkey from Griggstown Farm in NJ.  I cooked it on the outside grill but unfortunately I didn’t let it on long enough.  Starting carving and  I realized it had to go back on the grill.  This didn’t make for the best turkey.  But I would like to try again.

Every other year Jenny goes to Rob’s family.  We are always welcome back in Bristol.  But two  years ago we decided to try a restaurant dinner.  Diane’s brother joined us at Hamilton’s Grill in Lambertville.  It was a nice memorable experience.

This year we decided to eat out again .  Our first choice, the Yardley Inn, was booked.  At Hamilton’s Grill there was a 3 o’clock opening.  Since  Jim Hamilton recently died, there is a new owner chef.  It’s Brian Held who owns Brian’s in Lambertville and Bistro Rouget in Stockton. We had a nice meal in Brian’s when it opened several years ago. Thanksgiving dinner is a price fixe.  Strange but they didn’t  published the menu but I expected it to be similar to previous years — traditional turkey, seafood or beef as a main course.

Thanksgiving 2018, yesterday, was cold.  A high of 28 degrees.  We took a short walk at the Thompson Neely house and then headed to Hamilton’s.  Diane opted for a traditional turkey dinner.  I had halibut and vegetables.  Quite good.  The apps were delicious — potatoes leek soup and large grilled shrimp.  The flourless chocolate cake was, well I’m hoping to make it.  We shared a bottle of white wine.

Home about 5  we built a fire and had a dark grappa nightcap from a Chestertown craft distillery.  So much to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.





I began to reflect last night on why I was thankful:

I am thankful for my parents (gone now), even when we disagreed, they were supportative and willing to sacrifice to help me achieve.  They modeled and taught me values which I try to use to guide my life.

I am thankful for family, particularly Diane who has spent a disrupted year, caring for me with my medical issues.  It has effected every aspect of our lives.  Then there are my four sisters, Cissy, Vicky, Marylee and Liz, who are always helpful and fun to be with.  Jenny, Rob, Eli and Viv have a special place in my life.  They are the future.  I am so thankful what they bring to all the lives they touch. From Rob’s music, Jenny’s compassion, Eli’s wry grin and the twinkle in Viv’s eyes.  A special thanks for Eli’s recovery from neuroblastoma. Viv and Eli  are great kids and that’s not just grandfather pride.

I am thankful for the extended family, friends and colleagues who have listened to or been with me, particularly this past year.  Some have helped with household projects That I couldn’t do; I’ve visited others; weekly telephone calls with some; maybe just  social media contact, including many former staff and alumni from Holy Ghost Prep.  I am conflicted about mentioning names because I know I will miss some. But Ellen Mignoni, Philomena Profy, David and Judy Sears, Jerry and Susan Taylor, neighbors Mike, Kurt and Chrissy, Kathy Walsh, Tony Figliola, John DiGiesi, Matt Jordan, Tom Eckerle, Trish O’Conner, Mike Honan, Jerry Alonzo, John Amsterdam, Peter Cassidy, Tony Chapman, Mike Ditchkofsky, Barbara Cavanaugh, Barbara Dye, Jim McCullough, Jerry and Donna Kwait, Joey Lentz, Sue Micklewright, Dan Ryan, Edna Ramirez, and Robert Vierlinck.  Thanks.

I am thankful for those in Yardley who contribute to the small town atmosphere and community spirit.   From Canal O’Ween, Harvest Day, Saturday Farmer’s Market, those that serve on Council and so many other community groups, FODC, Community Center, Historical Association, Friends of Lake Alton.  And thanks to those  I meet ocassionally or regularly on morning Canal walks.

I am thankful for those political leaders and lawyers and judges who contribute to the American spirit of equality, freedom and justice for all, and celebration of American diversity who work to pass and enforce rules, laws, and regulations consistent with America Democracy.

I am thankful for our public and private school teachers who dedicate their lives to our children instilling values of tolerance, fairness, critical, open thinking, and a desire for constant growth and learning.

I am thankful for our university, teaching and research academics who expand our knowledge.  And the inventors and entrepreneurs who contribute to a healthier, sustainable, peaceful world.

I am thankful for those farmers, particularly small family operations, that contribute healthy, organic, sustainable, local when possible food for our tables.  And I can’t forget the chefs and members of the food industry who take the values of farm to table into restaurants and food markets.

I am thankful to the doctors, nurses, social workers, and all the members of the health and social welfare industries who attempt to provide the best preventive care, medical intervention and social services from birth to grave while respecting the patient as an individual with unique concerns and a special life.

I am thankful to members of the media, publishers  editors, writers, cartoonists and photographers, who attempt to provide factual, truthful news, the good and the bad.  Whose editorial coverage is thoughtful, admitting their personal point of view and bias which is impossible to avoid.

I am thankful for the middle and working class workers who make the world go round.    From trash collectors, construction workers, waitresses, sales clerks and all the others who work honestly and productively but also stand up for their and their fellow workers rights to a fair, liveable  salary and benefits, health care, family leave, retirement within the possibility of the richest country in the world.

I am thankful for those corporate executives who run companies with environmental and social standards that protect the planet, country, general citizens and workers.

I am thankful for those in the financial industry, bankers, stock brokers, financial planners who that treat consumers with fairness and respect accepting only salary, benefits and profits that recognize those values.

I am thankful for government employees at all levels that ensure that government, ‘s rules, regulations, values expenditures, and justice system are for the people, all the people, all the time.

I am thankful for those activists, social, environmental, international who serve as a conscious and motivator when we fail to respect the rights of everyone, in the United States and abroad.

I am thankful for those who join and support non profit groups whose mission may be civil rights, the environment, the arts, poverty, or social and health issues. Given  our current climate, I mention the Southern Poverty Law Center. In honor of Eli, I mention Alex’s Lemonade.

I am thankful for all those that enrich my life, writers, musicians, dancers, actors and actresses, artists of all stripes and mediums.

I am thankful for those designers, mechanics, crafts people, potters, woodworkers, basket makers, glass blowers, metal workers, and others that create interesting and functional objects of beauty and utility.

I am thankful for the vererans who serve(d) in the  military, based on conscience, a sense of what is right and duty to the people of the United States.

I am thankful for people who are different from me.  Racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, gender and political diversity is what makes life so exciting.

I thankful for religious leaders who respect all types of  spirituality and promote social justice for all.

I am thankful for those volunteers, young and old who donate their talents and time to worthwhile causes.

I am thankful for drivers who don’t think they own the road, walkers who look at and say hello to those they pass, store clerks who want to help, and all those people that are just friendly.

I apologize to anyone I missed.  Try to catch you next year.

Happy Thanksgiving           Vince