More Than the Food
Thanksgiving is a holiday most people connect to food—turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing (or stuffing), cranberry sauce, yams, green bean casserole, pumpkin or apple pie—ideally shared with a lot of family members around a big table, followed by dessert in a cozy den while watching football games on a big-screen TV.
I think about Thanksgiving along those lines, too, but my favorite memory has little to do with the food. As a kid growing up in the suburbs of Long Island, New York, I ran downstairs on Thanksgiving morning to turn the TV on at precisely 9 o’clock for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I didn’t want to miss any float, marching band, or giant balloon—cartoon characters like Popeye, Underdog, the Cat in the Hat, as well as a giant turkey—floating high above the streets. I wanted to see what the Rockettes were wearing, and which celebrities on the floats stopped to sing and wave to the crowd in front of Macy’s Herald Square. It could be raining, snowing, windy and cold, or as pleasant as a spring day, and families still lined up on the sidewalks in droves, while some were lucky enough to be standing in the windows of buildings along the parade route on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.