This is the best of holidays. A true American holiday. All one has to do is to enjoy the nice meal put on by a family member or friend or even a stranger. No worries before hand about buying gifts; the only worry being the huge traffic jams that occur as we try to get to the table where the sumptuous repast awaits.
My favorite memories of the day is going with my dad to the Southie-Eastie game at White Stadium sitting on the Irish side and looking across the field at the Italian side. It was there I first heard someone say “savoir faire.” As you can tell it left a great impression on me since I can remember it today.
There was also one Thanksgiving when the teams played at Fenway Park. There the fans of the opposing sides were not separated. I remember that game because I began cheering for the team which was wearing the nice colors of blue and gold which happened to be Eastie; I was quickly reminded that my team was in the red and blue.
It is appropriate I think of football and Thanksgiving. I went to Boston Latin School which has the oldest continuous football rivalry in the country playing against Boston English. That began in 1887. I raised my children in Needham, MA, which has the oldest public high school rivalry with Wellesley in the country. That began in 1882.
Those things were nice but my memory of the best football games played on that day happened in Chestnut Hill where my parents lived. These happened after we finished eating the delicious dinner with my mother’s special dishes – mashed potatoes with cream cheese, candied sweet potatoes, exquisite stuffing, etc. that she made every year and which I now enjoy in my own house.
After allowing that meal time to digest, the brothers: Matt, Jim, Bill, Neal and brother-in-law Tom along with the nephews and nieces would go down to the BC football stadium and engage in as competitive games as the high schools would have done earlier in the day. Each side played as if a stake in the national championship was available to the winner. Yes, there was one occasion when someone threatened to take his football and go home when he did not get his way on a call but fortunately that passed by quickly without leaving too many hurt feelings.
I’ve written enough. It is a special day. Go outside and enjoy it. Old man winter is waiting around the corner.