Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past with Betty Bolté and G*veaway

On this Thanksgiving eve, please help me welcome my friend Betty Bolté back to Preternatura. Betty’s latest book is Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure, a collection of historical fiction tales based on the lives of 19 girls living in the 1800s in America. These stories were inspired by the fact that each of these girls have a landmark dedicated to them in America as a result of their efforts. 

Betty lives on a farm in Tennessee with her husband, three cats, and two dogs, and tons of books. She is also the author of several nonfiction books.. In the works is a contemporary paranormal romantic women’s fiction novel set in a haunted plantation home in Tennessee. By day, she works as a consulting technical editor supporting NASA’s Space Launch System Program. You can learn more about her at her website, on Facebook, on Goodreads or follow her on Twitter (@BettyBolte) or Pinterest. Betty’s also a member of my local (Birmingham) RWA chapter, so give her a warm welcome! (She also has a very cool giveaway!)
And now let’s hear from Bettty…
                                   Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past
 by Betty Bolté

As the holidays speed toward me, I find myself remembering family dinners over the decades, and how they have changed. When I was a kid, I lived near a lot of my mother’s side of the family. Thus Thanksgiving was always a grand affair, shared with my grandmother, my parents and siblings, as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins. Each family contributed a dish or two and brought it to whoever’s house hosting the dinner. We enjoyed our traditional meal of roast turkey, gravy, dressing, homemade mashed potatoes, candied yams, oyster dressing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and a variety of cakes and fruit pies. Additionally, there was always music, and laughter, sometimes games.

After I married, my husband and I would visit either his or my family for an early dinner, then the other family for dinner. This led to a lot of driving for us, since our families were centered 50 miles apart at the time. It also meant a lot of eating and a huge variety of great, tempting foods!

We continued to do that until we moved to Indiana, after my mom died and my father moved in with us. By then, we had two children and the holidays were a magic time, as seen through their eyes. I made sure we did arts and crafts projects to celebrate Thanksgiving, and continued to prepare most of the traditional turkey dinner. Of course, I made smaller quantities since there was only five of us for dinner most years. But we played games and pulled out the folding table to do jigsaw puzzles on for the next few weeks.

Now we live in Tennessee and our children are grown with jobs and homes of their own, and our daughter is not able to come home for Thanksgiving due to work obligations. So I’ve invited a friend and her foreign exchange student(s) to join me and my hubby, our son, and my father-in-law for dinner. We’ll see how many people we’ll actually have, but at most there will be seven and more likely only four. A far cry from the huge events of Thanksgivings past. Nonetheless, there will be roast turkey and mashed potatoes and all the rest. We’ll have plenty of leftovers, that’s for sure!

Of course, the day is not about how many people and how much we eat, but about being thankful for having food on the table and family to share it with. It’s about giving thanks for the good things in our lives. This year, I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my career as a writer, and for all my readers. Additionally, I’m thankful that my father-in-law is recovering as expected from heart surgery, even though it’s a slower road to normal than he’d prefer.

How has Thanksgiving changed for you? What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Additionally, I’d like to make sure you’re aware of the following options, if you haven’t already taken advantage of them.

Have you subscribed to my blog so you’ll receive a notice when new information is posted? I hope so! I love sharing with you all, so please visit my blog and use the subscription box at the upper left to be sure you’re notified of new content.

If you’d like to be informed of breaking news and contest winners, please subscribe to my newsletter. As a thank you, each quarter I’ll draw one name at random to win a gift, too. I promise to not overload your inbox, but only send out a broadside when there is news worth sharing. The next drawing is in just a few days, on December 1, so sign up today!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Thanks, Betty!

Betty is generously giving away a set of heart-shaped measuring spoons to one lucky commenter here. I think these are so cool!

Leave a comment telling how Thanksgiving has changed for you, what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving or even a favorite Thanksgiving memory to be entered for your chance to win.  I’m thankful I have a few days away from my day job, even though I do have to work an epic football game on Saturday (my #1-ranked alma mater versus my #4-ranked employer…yikes!). Life is good, and I should have an announcement concerning a little story called “Chenoire” on Wednesday!

17 thoughts on “Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past with Betty Bolté and G*veaway

    • Memories of loved ones who have passed does add a touch of nostalgia and thankfulness to the day’s list of things to be thankful for, mainly to have shared their lives. I hope your day is filled with loving memories of her!

  1. I am so thankful to be spending Thanksgiving with my husband’s aunt and the rest of the family, including some family I have never met, and I’ve been in the family 33 years! Looking forward to a wonderful mean, as always. I just have to bake my lemon jello cake tonight 🙂

    • Susan, you’re not alone in meeting family for the first time this year. Earlier over the summer, I met an aunt and uncle of my hubby’s for the first time and we’ve been married 25+ years! Enjoy getting to know the new relatives!

  2. I’m thankful to be able to help my mother at least a little now that she needs me and i’m really grateful for my dog and cat who keeps me above the water as well as for teh friends i have and the great authors who made me dreams and hope!

  3. Like you when I was younger it was a whole family affair. My family and I would always go to my aunt’s on my moms side. There had to be like 30+ people there. All my aunt’s, uncles, cousins. Great aunts and uncles. Even some close family friends. Now most of my brothers are married so they go to there in laws and since my Grandma has passed we dont do much of anything. Plus a lot of us have to work now since all these retailers are staying open for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately its just turned into another day of the year for me. But I do miss seeing all of my family together like when I was a kid.

    • Change is inevitable, but I think we all look back to when we were younger and compare how things have changed over time. The retailers are a whole different issue, of course. I hope you have a good day, nonetheless!

  4. When I was a kid we used to go to my Aunt’s. Now that we have Thanksgiving at my house with friends since my family is spread across several states.

    • My family is also spread out, from east to west coasts, so there’s no getting the family together for much of anything except funerals and weddings. Friends become family when we live apart from our real family. Enjoy your day with those you care about!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving Betty and Suzanne, for you and all your family and friends. No such thing as Thanksgiving here in Holland, but I will be thinking of you all eating Turkey dinner with all the other tempting dishes.

    • Thanks, Aurian! I love your name! At least, you have the rest of the holidays ahead to enjoy. I’m sure you’ll find some tasty dishes of your own to share with family and friends.

  6. My memorable Thanksgiving was learning what Thanksgiving is all about when I went to grammar school. I didn’t know what it is because my parents don’t celebrate it in their culture.

  7. The very first Thanksgiving I hosted for my family was when we had moved to Indiana. I wanted to do a great meal because my mom always made a terrific dinner. So mom picks into the oven to check on the turkey when she gets to my house and says, Liz it looks great, but did you know you are cooking it upside down! Man, I was I embarrassed! But it turned out to be one juicy turkey!
    Happy Thanksgiving!