During my preteen years, my father owned a country pick-up milk route. This was a seven day a week job.
None of the farmers could train their cows to not produce milk on weekends and holidays. The milk route started very early each morning. The only good thing about it was that he was finished and home by 1 p.m.
I remember having Thanksgiving at my maternal grandparents house, who lived a couple of blocks North of Raymond, near Shelby Street. As soon as my father got home from his route, we would jump into the car and drive to their house.
It was a fairly large house with a big dining room with a big dining table that sat 10 people. Mom had three brothers. So, mom and dad, her three brothers and their wives and grandpa at one end and grandma at the other really filled out that table.
All of the children that were old enough to eat by themselves shared a couple of card tables in another room. We all really enjoyed getting together and celebrating Thanksgiving. The entire house had that special roasted turkey aroma and there were lots of different desserts for everyone to share.
As the grand kids grew older, sometimes one of the families had to do something else on Thanksgiving and could not come to the family gathering. I remember the first time that I was invited to sit in the dining room with the adults. I really felt honored. We had meals at our grandparents several times a year, but that was the first time for me to sit at the big table.
Almost every time that I watch an episode of “Blue Bloods” and they have a family Sunday Dinner, I remember my grandparents and their home.
When I got a bit older, I accepted a job with a company in California. I was about to complete my 6-year Indiana National Guard tour. My bosses in the guard worked out a plan so that I could move to Southern California and when my time in the guard was completed, I would have to return to Indianapolis to be discharged. They were covering about eight months for me.
My discharge date was about three days before Thanksgiving. I flew home and attended to my discharge requirements and also got to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.
I was scheduled to return to California early the next week. When I arrived at the airport and presented my ticket to the airline employee, I was shocked because I knew him very well. We had been neighbors as teenagers. We talked a minute and then he grabbed my ticket and stamped it “First Class”. There were no computers or other ways to challenge my ticket being first class. I thanked him and I was off to the plane. (My only time ever traveling first class.)
I had to change planes in St. Louis. There was a lot going on at the boarding station. When they finally called for the First Class passengers to board the plane, I was ready. There were only two other people in the first class area of this plane. I was very surprised.
The first person that I walked past in the plane was Art Linkletter. He had been a television show host for many years. It looked like he had already gone to sleep. Going to sleep sounded very good to me. It was about 1:30 in the morning.
When I sat down and looked across the aisle, I saw Mary Tyler Moore. She was not asleep. Once the airplane was in the air, the fun started. She got Art Linkletter awake and we started trying to guess what cities we were flying over. We would guess and the pilots would tell us if we were correct.
At some point Mary told me she was returning from Minneapolis/St. Paul where they filmed her tossing her hat in the air. She explained that she was putting together a new television show based in Minneapolis/St. Paul and the hat tossing would be in the beginning of each show.
We had neighbors over for pizza last week and I remember telling them about the special Thanksgiving weekend. I also saw on television that a gentleman that was very involved in Mary’s new show had just passed away. During that part of the news telecast, they showed Mary tossing her hat in the air.
We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving...