Here is another piece from the Art Institute of Chicago that moved me. The artist is Doris Lee and the piece is called Thanksgiving, c. 1935. Lee is known as one of the most successful female artists of the Depression era in the United States.
Thanksgiving was exhibited in 1933 at the Art Institute of Chicago and won the Logan Medal. Interestingly enough, the painting was not approved by one of the trustees, Josephine Hancock Logan who referred to the piece as “atrocious” and “trash”.
It wasn’t the theme that was included but how it was depicted as something common and ordinary. I didn't find it ordinary at all; I was drawn to the painting. I think something about it reminds me of my grandmother, and of course that then makes me think of my family altogether.
Thanksgiving is complicated. I know what we mean to celebrate but with it comes this unpleasant, well that’s an understatement, history that is as complex and complicated as our country. To me, thanksgiving has always been about family and eating. In fact, sitting around the dinner table is one of my images of family. Growing up we always had a family meal, a supper. The television was turned off, books put away, and if the phone rang we ignored it. Dinner time was about family, the four of us- my mom and dad, my brother and me.
My brother loves Thanksgiving. It’s his favorite holiday. He isn’t religious or spiritual but he keeps the holiday and its food sacred. He wants his stuffing to be a little dry; he prefers corn pudding to regular corn; and, in no way does he like change. Yet, he changed everything about five years ago when he moved to Florida. He has never looked back; he absolutely loves living there. And, because of his work schedule, he has only been home a half dozen times and never on the holidays. Most people think of a lack of mother or father as that which upsets the celebration of Thanksgiving. I think of my brother who now, happily, orders a Boston’s Market dinner and eats alone. I’m appalled, shocked! Thanksgiving is about family. Nope, he responds; Thanksgiving is about the food.
This will be my second Thanksgiving with my fella as my husband. It took me a long time to get things right when it comes to relationships so holidays seem extra special now.
When my fella asked if it would be okay to relieve his sister who has been the constant caregiver to their mother since she came home from the hospital, what in the world was I supposed to say?!? Of course!
Then I remembered how my brother doesn’t like change and how I actually don’t like change either. I want my family to be together but that isn’t possible this year; so tomorrow I’m going to surprise my fella with Thanksgiving! When he comes home from work, he’ll be greeted with a full Thanksgiving spread.
Instead of simply placing his Thanksgiving meal in a Tupperware container for him to tote off to his mother’s house, I will spent Thanksgiving with him today… because Thanksgiving to me is about family. The dates are insignificant.