Thinking About Memories

by Fred Cederholm
I’ve been also TH*NK*NG about the things that were part of Thanksgivings in the past that are no more.

I’ve been thinking about memories. Actually I’ve been thinking about living, Thanksgivings, family, church, gatherings, food, and what has gone before. The holiday season is upon us. Well, actually the advertising circulars have been trying to get us in the shopping mood for some time now, but that is another column story. When I was a little guy, Thanksgiving was a time to look backward and put things into a perspective to get things in order for Christmas which was the Advent --- the beginning. It was a time to be thankful. For me that has not changed.

You see this is my second “gift” Thanksgiving in the sense that I survived two heart surgeries and a near terminal flesh eating staph infection between them in the summer of 2009. I shouldn’t still be here, I was lucky, and I can still build more memories for Thanksgivings to come. For that I am ever so thankful and I will enjoy every moment --- the good and the (well) not so good. When you look backward, there are both. Even the bad stuff becomes good, because it is now behind you, and you can move forward to better things, happier things, and more positive things. That is critical.

I am thankful for my family (and my friends). This week will be a time to touch base and renew relationships with those whose contact has not been quite so frequent. I will be seeing them as they return to the area, as they stop by for a visit, and as they write, call, and e-mail me. I will be spending Thanksgiving Day with my cousin Bill and Jackie (and a cast of dozens). The conversations and updates will be stimulating, enlightening, and fun. We will cover the gamut --- religion, sex, politics, economics, banking, the dollar, foreign policy, the deficits, trade... you name it. There will be debate and disagreement, but that is what keeps things interesting! There will be Democrats, and Republicans. There will be liberals and conservatives. And... all this diversity in the same family?

I am thankful for church. Thanksgiving celebrations will begin for me on Wednesday evening at St. Johns Lutheran Church in Creston. We shall sing, we shall listen to the lessons, we shall worship, and we shall give thanks. We will bring non-perishable food items (and cash) to give to the Rochelle Area Christian Food Pantry. There is a real need at this time of year. Our doors are open and all those who wish to join us for the services are welcome.

As an unmarried, only child whose parents are gone and who lives with his little Scottish terrier, MacIntosh, I should be alone --- far from it! In the spirit of the holidays, I am welcomed into the homes of family and friends. I am so blessed, and for all these wonderful people who love me, care for me, and of course, read my columns; I am ever thankful.

Being a “qualified” glutton... I love food and the opportunity to sample and enjoy the stuff I would NEVER make for just myself. This will be a week of rich and caloric goodies that gets me salivating every year. The turkey, potatoes, squash, scalloped corn, the corn bread dressing, sweet potatoes, and green beans with crunchy onions are a good start. Then... there is the apple salad, three bean salad, the broccoli and raison salad (yeah, I know no broccoli for me because of the blood thinners I take) , the creamed artichokes with pearl onions, the stuffed mushroom caps, pumpkin pie, sliced cheeses, crackers, homemade breads, crabmeat, and shrimp. I don’t cook for Thanksgiving anymore, but I bring the wine. The 2010 Beaujolais Nouveau arrived at Rouge in Creston last Thursday, and I got my usual case. (By the way, it’s delicious.) I am so thankful for the wonderful food. (BURP!!!) But hey, this is a once a year indulgence. And... I never deny myself the opportunity to succumb to temptation(s)!

I’ve been also TH*NK*NG about the things that were part of Thanksgivings in the past that are no more. So many of the older generations of my family and friends are now deceased. They are gone from us, but they are NOT forgotten. There will be stories exchanged and remembered and that is a very special thing. There will be no pilgrimage to the Chicago Loop on the train the day after Christmas with my mother, my grandma, my aunt, and my cousins. I cannot sit on Santa’s lap at Marshall Fields, have chicken pot pie by the great Christmas tree in the Walnut Room, and get a box of Frango Mints. Marshall Fields is now Macy’s (ARG!), the recipe for the chicken pot pie has been changed (GAG!!), and the Frango Mints made in Chicago are no longer available. (WAAAAA!!!) Still... I have my Thanksgiving memories and for that I am thankful.

Thanksgiving 2010 will be different in that there are new family members from births and new marriages. There are new friends. There will be new culinary delights. There will be new topics of discussion. The old has laid the foundation for the new, but the underlying traditions go on. I am so very thankful for Thanksgiving and I wish you all a wonderful holiday. Cheers, and build some new memories...

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2010 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on November 22, 2010.