Monday, November 23, 2009



This photo is of my family, the Brannigans. (Murphys for those of you who require continuity.)
     Dad's presence is felt as his eye focused through the lens capturing this feast. This was taken in November 1953. It was my brother, Patrick's, very first turkey day ever. Doesn't he do a fierce and accurate imitation of the Infant of Prague? If I keep working on our genealogy, perhaps I'll find out we are part Polish and that will explain his early skills. I bet his dinner was pureed that day and was from a small, stoutly shaped jar with a cherub-faced baby on it. 
      There is my lovely, beaming sister, Kathy, keeping me on track, as usual. A duty she was destined to perform for the balance of her abbreviated life. She slipped the surly bonds of earth the Tuesday before Thanksgiving eleven long years ago. I am so thankful to have had her and rejoice in the legacy she has given to those of us who continue loving her. It still makes me laugh when I think of how my Beatles posters upset her hanging on the wall of our shared room. She accused them of making her uncomfortable when she dressed for work. It was a gentler time. In my sensitive manner, I told her "too bad" and they were there for keeps. She got married not too far after that. You lucked out on that move, Norman.
   Mike is there in his Hop-A-Long Cassidy shirt that he loved so much. It always made me mad that Mom sent away for a REAL plate and a REAL mug emblazoned with Hop-A-Long and his 6-shooters just for the express pleasure of my brother's epicurean experience. Mom was always fair, given the fullness of time. She sent away for a dress for me years later. It was offered by the Pittsburgh Press, was on a thick paper along the lines of the composition of today’s Sham-Wow, and was a reprint of the "yellow pages" directory. I wore it with black tights and, even though I thought I was quite MOD, thank you, I was petrified it would disintegrate was while it was being sported.
    Let's not forget Mom herself. Check out the Betty Crocker apparel, complete with a jaunty half-apron for full affect. Those of us who were witness to the early days of the Brannigan family know darn well she only warmed up the canned corn. Morgan whipped out the kitchen magic. He was the gravy king. She accomplished the curtsy as men only grilled outdoors at that point in history. Poor Dad would sit there and smile, as she would graciously deflect meal compliments.

The lesson in all this? Take a family photo on Thanksgiving Day. Freeze that memory, even if it is something less than what you think you feel it should be. Years later, it will be a treasure.  

So, go charge up your camera battery or purchase a reserve of "AA" batteries for the holiday. Cook it up, dish it up, eat it up, and love it up.
Now, go get your raincoat and put your hood up. It is raining today and you don't need to catch a cold and be sick for the big gathering.
Let your self out. I need to check on the pies. 


1 comment:

  1. That was so wonderful and so touching all at the same time. I don't know how you do it but you can take an event and turn it into something so treasured and memorial that it just blows me away.

    I am so sorry about your sister but can see the love, caring, respect and memories she gave to you and I am sure to the rest of the family.

    Thank you so much for this one and as always you hit the mark so perfectly that it makes you so happy and proud to be a part of your wonderful circle of friends.

    We will be together over at Jason and Crystal's house this year because with the baby and all the problems she had during the first couple of months it would be to much. All is well with mother and baby now but it was a very hard time in the beginning.

    I wish you and yours a blessed and loving Thanksgiving feast and thank you for sharing your very special memories with me.