Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

November 22, 2022
Thankful memories

We bought a few packages of fun size candy bars for Halloween.

After the trick-or-treaters were done I opened up a fun size Milky Way bar. As I glared at the small flat rectangular object in the palm of my hand I thought, “Doesn’t look like a lot of fun to me.” 

I’ve seen larger pieces of candy in a Whitman’s sampler box.

I thought about sending the package back to the Mars Company with a note that the package had obviously been mislabeled at the factory — these were not fun size, but miniature or “Tic-Tac” sized. 

Instead of a refund, I would have requested they please send me a package of real fun size Milky Way bars.

However, I decided that the Mars Company had unintentionally done me a favor. 

As I must carefully watch my consumption of sugar, these sampler sized bars were just the right size to get a taste of the real thing without sending my blood sugar into an immediate spike.

I popped the Milky Way bar into my mouth and I was instantly transported to a snowy Scottish street in the village of Glenmavis. 

I was dressed in a suit, tie, hat, nametag and overcoat with a wool scarf around my neck and wearing a pair of Doc Marten boots on my feet. Although it was cold, I felt a certain warmth from being bundled up as I reached into my pocket to take out and take a bite of a Mars bar — a larger and much better tasting version of a Milky Way bar.

It’s amazing the power of food to invoke deep rooted memories full of emotion.

At Thanksgiving time many families will gather around a table full of traditional foods, including some delectable items that are only eaten once a year on this holiday.

The smell and taste of Thanksgiving food will bring back many memories.

One of my most memorable Thanksgivings occurred about three years after moving to Utah. With our two young children, we made a weekend trip back to Washington state at Thanksgiving time to hold the holiday tradition with our families.

But this Thanksgiving was different from the others. It was the first time I made the trip home to see my father since he suffered a debilitating stroke.  The stroke left him with an active and working mind, but also with one entire side of his body paralyzed.

Unable to get out of bed or use the bathroom by himself, my father was confined to a care center, a nicer term for what we use to call a nursing home. My stepmother was constantly there. He attended physical therapy regularly, but we were told his physical condition would not likely improve.

I recall how as the plane landed at Sea-Tac International Airport, I looked out the window as we taxied to the gate to see great drops of rain falling from the gray sky into large puddles on the tarmac. That wasn’t unusual for the Pacific Northwest in November, but this time I thought how appropriate it was to be greeted by heavenly tears instead of rays of sunshine.

At my stepmother’s house we had a discussion about what to do about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was a carefully orchestrated day for our family. It included time with my mother, my father and stepmother, and my in-laws.

My stepmother wasn’t sure what to do. My father couldn’t come home for Thanksgiving and the thought of a Thanksgiving without him was depressing — it simply would not be a day of celebration.

I think Jenine and I looked at each other with the same thought. We went out, bought a turkey, cooked it along with all the fixings at her parent’s house and we brought Thanksgiving to my father in the community room of the care center. 

I remember my father smiling as he looked at the turkey. Somebody, I forget who, carved the turkey. We passed the food and ate, drank and talked just like we were at home. 

I wish we had cell phones with cameras back then. A video or even photos of that Thanksgiving would be great. But every time I carve a turkey and smell turkey gravy, I remember that Thanksgiving. 

While I miss gathering as a family with brothers and sisters, I am thankful for my small family and the opportunity to be together.


Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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