Up early this morning to bake sweet potatoes for my casserole, I started thinking about Thanksgiving memories. I always get emotional around the holidays, especially since my family is far away. So I throw myself into making way too much of my Granny’s cornbread dressing, my mama’s sweet potato souffle’ and green bean casserole with beans from my daddy’s garden. My husband wants his childhood favorites too, so our table also holds oyster dressing, seafood stuffed merlitons, and creamed cauliflower. We always say we’re going to have a quiet day, but it always builds into a crowd of other people who don’t have family around and I like it because quiet days give me a little too much time to miss my mom and dad, my sister and my brother.
I remember my granny making such a huge pan of cornbread dressing that my dad had to stir it for her, and my husband remembers his grandpa shucking oysters all day for his grandma’s oyster dressing while he and his brother roller skated around the garage. I wonder what the fond memories will be for my kids when they are grown. I hope they’ll remember the good tastes I grew up with and keep making those things for their kids. But more than that, I hope they remember the love we have, the time spent together, and the people we share our table with this Thanksgiving.
I find myself caught between an ache for home and what used to be, and an enthusiasm for making happy memories for and with my own little ones. So this year, I’ve decided to fill my Thanksgiving with stories and hugs, songs and memories. I’ll tell stories to my little ones about things I did as a kid, about my Granny and her ways, about my cousins and our antics. We’ll talk about Granny’s big pan of dressing for the big family gathering in her Florida orange grove and about little Dwayne roller skating around as his Grandpa shucked oysters for a New Orleans Thanksgiving. We’ll talk about everything we have to thank God for, most of all each other.
I hope your Thanksgiving is happy, full of good food, family and friends. I hope you find time to talk about special memories of Thanksgivings past and make new memories for your family to treasure. Top of my list this year and always is the love of my friends, the residents and staff at St. Francis Villa Assisted Living. They truly are my home away from home, my family away from family. For their friendship and trust, and for the memories we make every day, I’m so grateful.