Thanksgiving –  it’s a sensational holiday. Literally. The joining of family and friends to give thanks for our blessings, serves up particular delights for all the principal senses. Today, Pilot staffers Dan Duke, Sam Hundley, Patty Jenkins, Erica J. Smith and Denise M. Watson share some of their favorite Thanksgiving memories.
Our sensory Thanksgiving memories
Produced by Will Houp | The Virginian-Pilot Graphics from
Click the eyes, nose ears, hand or mouth to read about our favorite Thanksgiving memories
Back to the beginning
As a child, eating off the “for special occasions” china — a Rosemarie pattern by Noritake. The Snoopy balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The portraits of Mom hung in most every room of my father’s house. The giant platter with a turkey painted on it. The few minutes when everything I’ve spent two days cooking is complete and looks great, and will be devoured in less than 15 minutes.
Eating oyster stuffing for the first time at my the in-law’s house.  The Harvard beets that only Mom and I would eat. A first sip of bourbon. The tart assault known as cranberry sauce. Crispy cooked turkey skin.
Waking up as a kid to the aroma of turkey that has been roasting in the oven most of the night. The apple spice air freshener, heavy when it first greets you, trying to hide Dad’s smoking. The unique smell of the family home that you can notice only after you’ve been away for awhile. Granddad’s pipe tobacco. The heavy perfume on your great aunt when she gives you a hug and a kiss.
The joyful cries when a family member shows up that you haven’t seen in a while. Cranberries popping on the stove as fresh cranberry jelly is made. The rapid shuffle as Dad, now an old man, heads down the hall on floors no longer carpeted. Uncle Ken’s snoring on the couch. Mom and her sisters and sisters-in-law talking and laughing in the kitchen.
Hugging my Army son and feeling the fabric of his uniform when he surprised a living room full of family – his parents included – and came home for Thanksgiving. The rough carpet in front of Mom’s china cabinet and the cool, flowered edges of her Rosenthal Maria Weiss china. Getting kicked under the table for using profanity. Getting the wind knocked out of me by my little brother during a backyard football game. Heat! Because of all of the cooking, I usually have having to dress in shorts and a tank top because the my kitchen gets so hot on Thanksgiving.