Long time lurker. Made it through all 49 pages felt it was time for my first post. This is one of my mother's favorite stories to tell.
Both my parents lucked out in the in-law lottery. It must have been my first Thanksgiving, some forty odd years ago, and Mom made the two hour trek from the Twin Cities to northern Minnesota where she and Dad grew up, the Monday before. Dad was going to catch the Greyhound after work on Wednesday and she'd pick him up at the A&W that night. They grew up in two different towns only twenty-thirty minutes apart.
The plan was for us to spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning with Grandpa and Grandma B (Dad's parents) and then go to Grandpa and Grandma H's (Mom's parents). Grandpa and Grandma H were hosting Thanksgiving that year (hosting rotated between the Grandmothers and our house). She arrived mid-afternoon Monday along with my older sister (2 1/2 yo at the time) and me. After unpacking the car and getting everyone settled, Grandpa B turns to my mother and asks her where in blue blazes are her hat and gloves. Sheepishly, she pulls out a threadbare pair of wool mittens and a hat.
Mom and Dad were just starting out. Money was tight. Dad was working both his day job and a side job. Mom was a SAHM who did music lessons on the side to make extra money. They always put our comfort before theirs.
Grandpa B mutters something along the line of "this being unacceptable" and tells Mom to put her coat back on (nowhere's near warm enough for a Minnesota winter), they're going to town. Mom says he takes her to the one "good" department store in town and proceeds to buy her the biggest, warmest goose down jacket he could find along with heavy, fur-lined boots, gloves, hats and scarves (he had beat Mom's parents to the punch, Grandma H was going to take her shopping later that week, instead she took Dad to the men's store and got him a good winter coat and
a good dress coat).
Mom said she was almost in tears leaving the store. You didn't argue with Grandpa B. As he told her, "it may not be fashionable but you ain't gonna freeze" and every Christmas, even when he succumbed to Alzheimer's (it was one of the few things he could remember clearly) he made sure she got a new pair of fur-lined gloves and a new pretty scarf. And after he passed away, Grandma B took care of the tradition until she passed away.