I love Thanksgiving. I love reflecting on my year and acknowledging the people and the places that transformed bad days into good days, and good days into memories that will stay with me forever. I love marking the changing of the season by spending my long weekend out in the leaves with a scarf billowing around my neck. I love the mountains of gratuitous food that I heap onto my plate, and the warmth of red wine in my stomach. But most of all, I love that my whole family sets aside a weekend to enjoy each other’s company and relax in the comfort of domesticity.
Every Thanksgiving we have our traditions, but last year’s thanksgiving was special. In a spurt of fall cleaning, my grandma brought her old photo albums for us to sort through. I think she wanted us to throw them in the trash, but we couldn’t part with a single one. All of us gathered around the dining table and absorbed the forgotten memories that my grandma had preserved. My brother and I asked our parents where we were and what we were doing in each not-before-seen baby picture. It felt like we were learning about an old life we never knew we had. It felt like we were children again.
Three of the pictures were especially beautiful, so we wanted to memorialize them in some way. One was of my brother and I as babies playing in the fall leaves, one was of my parents on the front porch smiling warmly at each other, and the other was the whole family in my grandmother’s living room, each one of us with a more ridiculous expression on their face than the next. We decided we wanted to use Painted Memories, a service which converts photographs to oil on canvas paintings, to turn their special photographs into works of art. We wanted to encapsulate our nostalgia for these moments, but our photographs – our time capsules to the past – could not express these new feelings. We needed an artist’s touch to bring these pictures to life. We could not have been more happy with the gorgeous works that Painted Memories created for us. A year later, this Thanksgiving, my family sat around the dining table as usual. But this time, when recounting all the things we were thankful for, we could look upon three beautiful paintings of our beautiful family and remember that, above all, we are most thankful for each other. Although pumpkin pie is delicious and fall jackets are stylish, the best part about the Thanksgiving season is that you spend it with the people you love.
By Ella Corkum