I can smell the bacon sizzling, eggs a cracking, batters being whipped and beaten. Come about four o’clock in the morning, Thanksgiving morning. I would slip down the stairs as quietly as the old crickety floor would let me and slowly, ever so slowly, open the door at the bottom of the steps. Sliding my small little girl body through a sliver of an opening, to ensure I did not awaken my mom and dad, who were on the hide-a-way sofa in the, soon to be magical dining room.
As my bare feet touched the cold floor, I would cringe, drawing it back in hopes I would not groan so loudly, to wake everyone up. As I approached the opening to the doorway of the kitchen, I could hear her clanking the pans (as quietly as she could) and almost methodically dancing, in her house robe like a glowing angelic human. If I didn’t disturb her and freeze like a statue, I could hear her lightly singing a sweet hymn. Usually something like, Thank you Lord, for saving my soul or I will walk with Him and I will talk with him….
I try to hold my breath for as long as possible, so I can hear and watch her for just one more minute, only to slip on a rug, lose my balance and come sliding in the kitchen, butt first. She basically, keeps going and says, “Teena Gay, what are you doing up it is too early and you will be cranky before Thanksgiving dinner is served!”
As I began to whine and explain how excited I was and I rambled on, she seem to forget what she had said and would start talking to herself. Almost as if a check list was in her head and not even I could get her off track (Which if you know me I can get anyone off track, most of the time).
Mmmmmmmmm, can you smell it? I can! I can smell the green beans a bubbling, the turkey browning, the sweet pies a cooling. One by one a family member would emerge. Poppy would slip down the steps, wrap his arms around Baw Baw, giving her a reverse hug and a sweet peck on the cheek. She would always stop, pause and embrace his hugs and his kisses.
You know as I sit and write this I can’t help, but pause, close my eyes and as the tears stream down my face, I give thanks! I am grateful for these precious memories.
I remember thinking my grandmother was super woman! You know, I might be wrong, but until my Poppy passed away I think she cooked the majority of the food. I know we all pitched in something throughout the years, but honestly that was Violet Ashby’s legacy! Not just Thanksgiving Dinners, but bringing people together, by opening her home and preparing the most delicious, blessed and cooked with love meal anyone could ever imagine.
The time would quickly come, when those who weren’t in town, would begin to arrive. Oh the smiles on everyone’s face. The big hugs that seem to be never ending as the back screen door would open and SLAM, directly behind anyone who entered. Greetings, greetings!!!! It was like a house full of laughter and the energy was so strong it seemed as though, our farm home was coming to life celebrating hundreds of years of family, would vibrate and glow.
Finally, it was time to eat. Now most of the time as we all gathered around the ‘big people’s’ table or the ‘kids’ table off to the side (I don’t think I sat at the big people’s table until after I was an adult of like 25! Lolololol), the room would be so loud, Forman Hamilton who was the neighbor down the road, could hear us. However, once my Poppy, Uncle Bob, or Uncle Rod said, “Let’s bless this food…”
We all stopped talking and immediately grabbed hands and bowed our heads. It was like a snap of the fingers when it happened! Next, BRING ON THE FOOD!!! Heavenly Ham, terrific turkey, goodness gracious gravy, pluffy potatoes, stupendous slaw & stuffing and Pie, pie, pie! Did I forget to mention Butterscotch PIE!
We would all pass the food around the table: macaroni and cheese oh my!
As Thanksgiving approaches, enjoy each person you are with. Take time to put your phones down and turn off your technology for just a moment and record those smells, laughters, moment by moment sounds and events in your memory bank. Because you can never relive this time again. Next year will be different. It may not seem much different, but it will be. Everyone will be a year older, have new perspectives, some will pass others will be born, no matter what the only way you can relive a memory, is create one!
Thank you for reading, sending you much love!
(Don’t forget to check out December 8th, our upcoming event/celebration is going to be fun!)