Growing up in Union City, we had family dinner. Everyday no matter where I was out playing there would be hell to pay if I wasn't home and seated at the table at 5 p.m.. That was where my mother, after, sister and I had family dinner. On Sundays, we would eat at 2 p.m. which was more of a combination of lunch and dinner and we always had a course of macaroni followed by a platter of roasted chicken.

We would eat and talk about whatever was going on in our lives. It wasn't always pleasant as that would be where my mother would tell my father of my daily transgressions both in school and at home, but regardless, I still think back to those days and miss those dinners. They brought the family together. I now have them with my own family.

Every night at 5:15 p.m., my wife and sons gather for family dinner and the same thing goes on. My sons can't wait until it's over since many of their friends eat later and some don't have family dinner at all. The tradition of family dinner has also been brought to life on the CBS series "Blue Bloods" where the "Reagans" have that scene in every episode.

Thanksgiving is the ultimate "family dinner." Unlike say Christmas where there are other things to do like open presents, or other family events like weddings, birthdays etc, Thanksgiving, you're there for one reason and one reason only, to share a meal with your family.

I remember, as a kid, going to my grandmother's for Thanksgiving. She had fifteen children who all married and had children of their own. I remember when I graduated from the "kids" table to eat with the grown ups. How cool it was talking Giants football with my Uncle Sonny. I felt like a grownup on my first time at the table. I also remember each year, seeing the faces change and drinking toasts to all who have passed away from the table.

I think of those things now as I sit around with my family on Thanksgiving. Quietly, I'll drink a toast to all who I've been lucky enough to eat with all of those years and another to the family I have now who have taken my love to yet another level.

This year, as we sit around the downsized Thanksgiving table, think back to those family dinners and if you miss them, remember that you're having one now.

A toast to you and your family, Salute! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Who would you vote off your Thanksgiving table?

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