By Elaine Carlson

The man said one of their selections is venison. On their menu posted online they say, "It was served at the first Thanksgiving instead of turkey." Even so that will not be my choice.

When my husband Brad and I moved to Silver City I was happy to learn deer live here. I always enjoy seeing those lovely creatures standing outside of our kitchen or in other spots around our house. I miss them when they stay away. I just don't see how I could eat deer meat.

That man said other entree selections were Pork Tenderloin, Custard Baked in Acorn Squash and Roast Turkey.. The Turkey comes with Sausage or Rice Dressing. The dessert choices are Pumpkin Mousse, Chocolate Brownie, and Apple Caramel Tart. Besides the entree and the dessert they serve Sweet Potatoes, Homemade Bread and Fig Glazed Carrots.

I called Bear Mountain Lodge to make reservations for their Thanksgiving Dinner. Brad and I have gone there before at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time we are going with another couple.

When you call to make your reservation they ask what entree and dessert you want. I ordered four Roast Turkey, two Pumpkin Mouse, and two Chocolate Brownies.

For years my grandmother's brother and his wife invited the whole family to Thanksgiving in Santa Maria, California where they lived. For the first several years our aunt hosted the meal in their backyard. She hired workers to cook the dinner,do the set up, and to serve the meal. I never knew much about the details but I guess it is likely she rented the tables and chairs she needed (and maybe dishes and silverware).

After a few years our uncle made arrangements to go to a local restaurant. Over the years we went to more than several Santa Maria restaurants.

Soon after we started going to restaurants we got kicked out of one because of the behavior of my two brothers and one of our cousins. After then at every Thanksgiving there was talk about how we got kicked out of a restaurant. The same things were said every year. Even so I am sure those conversations were am example of a Family Tradition.

Our aunt died first and our uncle continued hosting at Thanksgiving until his own death. I get sad when I think of all the relatives who went because so may of them have died --- everyone in my grandmother and her brother's tier, all but one person in my parents' level and even some in my generation.

Once my sister told me when we were growing up Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday. She thought it was nice to have a good meal and a good time with our father's family. It is also my favorite holiday. For the same reasons.

The fourth Thursday in November is a day when the vast majority of Americans eat the same menu. And nobody is worried about heeding the warnings to avoid conformity we get in school. Doing everything the same as everyone else is the point of observing Thanksgiving..

A long time ago I looked up the history of the establishment of Thanksgiving as a holiday. This was before the Iternet. I went to the library and looked in several encyclopedias. And I am not talking about the Indians who invited the first European settlers to a feast. That is all part of the mythology of the holiday.

The Puritans were worried about the secularization of Christmas. They wanted to keep it a religious holiday but they also wanted a holiday their children could be able to celebrate and to have fun. ..

I agree with those puritans. The purpose of Thanksgiving should be to celebrate and to have fun. But people are always told that this is a day to give thanks. There is an unfortunate bias in our country that everything (even days set aside as holidays) has to have a practical purpose.

I am not against being thankful (the word is in the name of the holiday). It is just that I wish there were a day set aside for people to have a good time with relatives and friends. Be happy. And to be able to eat good food.

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