The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Unlike other kids who preferred Halloween and Christmas, Jimmy looked forward to Thanksgiving every single year. It was 1964, and his 9-year-old self could not wait to get to his cousin’s house. He refused to eat anything until dinner that night. Jimmy impatiently waited until it was time to leave, already dressed in his khakis, white button down, and blue tie, lounging on the floral printed living room couch and flipping between the four channels on their black and white television. Finally, Jimmy and his brother Bernie (who didn’t enjoy Thanksgiving nearly as much as Jimmy did) piled into the backseat of their mom’s station wagon. The two brothers were off with their parents to Uncle Jim and Aunt Sara’s house a couple minutes down the road in Bala Cynwyd. Uncle Jim was his mom’s brother, and Jimmy and Bernie were getting geared up to play with their three cousins, Shelia, Mark, and Matt. When they got to the old ranch house that Jim and Sara lived in, Bernie and Jimmy threw themselves out of the station wagon and through the front door in search of their cousins. They said their quick hellos to their older relatives, engulfed by the savory scent of the turkey that had been roasting for hours. Through the back door, they ran to the backyard to play football with their cousins. It was a cold November day in Pennsylvania, but Jimmy and his cousins didn’t care. Spending time with cousins was a treat for them, so it didn’t matter what season it was or what the weather looked like.

After what felt like a lifetime, Aunt Sara finally called for the youngsters to come inside and eat dinner. Jimmy was ready. He carefully placed the perfect portion sizes of food on the glistening white china plate. The finishing touch was creating the perfect gravy boat in his pile of mashed potatoes. Jimmy was the least picky eater out of his cousins. He put every food that was offered on his plate. And, it didn’t matter if the foods touched. In fact, he liked it better that way to combine the flavors. After waiting all day, maybe even all year, Jimmy took the first bite of the perfectly cooked turkey, combined with a bit of stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, savory corn, sweet cranberry sauce, and thick gravy. His taste buds tingled, and he couldn’t get enough. Spending time with family is cool, but for Jimmy, the food was the reason this holiday was his favorite.

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