Thanksgiving on 2nd and Cordova
by Mary Jane Dougherty
Our Alaskan Thanksgiving Day celebration always started with our mother Feodoria making waffles and bacon for breakfast, Yum.
How great it was to be out of Denali Elementary School and having fun with the family.
My brothers and sisters and I would talk about the day during breakfast. We made our plans, washed the dishes and waited for our "Thanksgiving Day" assignments from our mother.
Depending on your age you were told to first, clean your room, second to put on your play clothes and choose your outfit for dinner. That was fun, because it was like getting ready for church.
Lastly, to come down from the third story in our log house and start on our assignments.
We would get the card table set up in the living room-dining room next to the maple wood dining room table and put all the chairs around. The radio would be playing all the great fifties music. Then, we placed the tablecloths and napkins on the table and set out the silverware. Then we would all choose our spot at the table by where our own favorite glass was placed.
MMMM! The aroma from the kitchen was so good, we had to have a snack. My mother would set out a plate of snacks for us so not to bother her in the kitchen.
Then we would all go outside to go sledding and if the snow was just right, to make a snowman.
Brr! It was time to go inside and have some cocoa and toast and play "Monopoly". We all chose that game to help the time go by fast for our delicious and highly anticipated Thanksgiving dinner. How fun it was to listen to the radio and play our favorite board game and see who goes to jail first or buys "Reading Railroad".
Then our mother would tell us to change our clothes, fix our hair and of course keep our bedrooms clean.
Our Thanksgiving company was our Aunt and Uncles. The turkey and the dressing sure smelled delicious.
Then it was finally time to line up in the kitchen and have our mother hand us the relish trays, radishes in the shape of roses sitting in a bowl of cold water, vegetable tray and crackers. Butter dishes and empty bowls for the mashed potatoes and gravy and corn on the cob.
Because I was a small child they put a big thick Montgomery Ward catalog on my chair to sit on and a dish towel for my lap. (my husband knows all about me and how I spill food).
And then it was time to sit down where our favorite glasses had been placed and have our "Thanksgiving Day" prayer.
At last, one of our Uncles would carry out the very large turkey on a platter. My mother would bring out the mashed potatoes and place them in the bowls. The steaming brown gravy would be poured in the bowls. The biscuits would be placed on our plates.
I loved having the relish tray sitting next to me so I could put the pitted black olives on my fingers and wave them around and say, "OOO, dirty fingernails!" and then eat them one by one.
I always admire the radishes that my mother would carefully cut into the shape of a rose.
Ah, after clearing the dishes it was time for pumpkin pie and milk. How full we were and how happy we were because we were all together. How much fun we had telling our stories about the past summer and our time at our commercial fishing site, Point Possession.
Then we all took our dishes and glasses back to the kitchen to wash them while my mother would get the leftovers ready for the rest of the week.
It was great to see her sit down and drink her coffee as it started to get dark outside and the street lights would come on. If it was snowing we would all gather around the breakfast nook and watch the snow fall.
Yep, Thanksgiving on 2nd and Cordova in Anchorage was indeed a very special time. And now my husband Mike and I are making memories of our special Thanksgiving Day dinners.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!