My family alternated holidays between the grandparents when I was a kid. We had a Fat Grandma and a Skinny Grandma. Not that we called them that, but it was a noteworthy comparison.
I won’t say that we preferred one over the other, but Skinny Grandma served boiled okra as a Thanksgiving side dish.
Fat Grandma always had homemade noodles.
We entered her home through the kitchen; immediately greeted by the wonderful smells, and a kiss on the lips no matter how you tried to dodge it. While the men sat in the living room talking about the Army/Navy game, the women and children were put to small tasks to speed the meal. Not that Grandma needed much help. The turkey and stuffing (plus dressing on the side for those who preferred it that way) were baking, the pies and cranberry sauce already made, and the air humid from boiling pots of potatoes and broth. Grandma’s apron was already covered in flour as she began to roll out the noodles.
I loved watching this process. She rolled the dough almost paper thin and then rolled it up jelly-roll style to slice into long strips of noodles. I got to help unfurl each roll and hang it to air dry just slightly before she cooked them in the boiling broth.
Somehow, without aid of microwave, everything was served hot, crowded on the serving table, ready for Grandpa to say the blessing as we all gathered. We didn’t all agree that the noodles were our favorite thing, but with their melt-in-your-mouth perfection they were part of everyone’s Thanksgiving plate.
“Everyone” could be a sizable crowd. Various of Grandpa’s eight siblings, their children or grandchildren made appearances over the years, along with our family, aunts, uncles and cousins. Neighbors, friends, and strangers like a young missionary pair working in their town, joined our meal at times. We brought along last-minute friends one year, but feeding four unexpected teenaged mouths was no problem for Grandma. (I think they each got a kiss, too.) At her house, space would be made for all who came. There would always be enough food to share.
In many ways, it was always Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house.