The torments and treasures of Thanksgiving | News, sports, jobs


Karen Wils Photo Fun from 1956, the Stasewich sisters (my aunts) get ready to set the Thanksgiving table.

ESCANABA – How can pure torture become a precious treasure?

One thing is certain about a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, it produces a lot of dirty dishes.

When I was growing up, I hated washing dishes.

Growing up in a large family, each sibling had some post-dinner chores to do. Mark cleared the table, Michael and I dried dishes; Jim put them down and swept the floor.

After the Thanksgiving meal, preparing food was a ritual.

When I was a kid and teenager, Thanksgiving dinner was shared with 30 to 40 aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The pots, pans, cake plates, roasting pans and the endless stream of cutlery flooded the kitchen. This is where the torture began. The women did the kitchen cleaning. As a daughter, I was expected to help. Yes, I saw it as child abuse.

While most normal, smaller families were watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Day” on TV, at my house, the kitchen was full of excitement.

A couple of cousins ​​put on tea towels. Several aunts cleared tables and wrapped leftovers.

My aunt Nancy usually commanded the helm from the bowl. She washed the dishes. In her serious way, she brought up humor by saying: “If a plate isn’t completely clean, don’t give it back to me. That’s what tea towels are for. “

Rita and Pat reminisce at work and tell funny stories about their adventurous teenage days. Truths came out for 1955 that even my mother had never heard before.

The men also had their jobs. They lifted heavy cauldrons, moved tables and chairs, and kept the babies and children happy while the women worked and talked.

And they talked. Soapy water revealed secrets and the search for souls. The cozy fireplace atmosphere melted reservations. Girls talked about their dreams, their fears and the stumbling blocks in their lives. Some let good news slide out like a new baby on the way. Some asked for prayers for old problems.

There was history, stories from the grandparents who died before I was born. There was humor like the last prank Sandy Bob played.

They laughed a lot and cried a little, but it was mainly through working together that we all bonded. We communicated. Now when I look back I can see how much of it “speak” would have ideas for my future columns.

It felt like torture to a ten year old who took in all of this. Oh, that cat eye glass and Avon perfume, what could be more boring?

Now, some 40 years later, I wouldn’t give anything to do the dishes with all of them again!

I’d trade dishwashers, computer skyping, and Facebook exchanges for an old-fashioned time of heart-to-heart washing dishes on Thanksgiving.

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Karen (Rose) Wils lived in northern Escanaba all her life. Her popular columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.

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