I'm not sure how the month of November snuck up on me so quickly, but here it is with all of the glorious colors of fall nearly fallen upon the ground and already the sounds of Christmas carols playing at my local department stores.
Thanksgiving plans have been mapped out; who's going where and which students will be coming home for the holiday. I love Thanksgiving; on and off the air I declare this month a month of Thankfulness and I try to notice in more detail the many things I'm thankful for.
One of the things I'm most grateful for this time of year are the family traditions that I grew up with. Although I have a big family now, my family of origin was fairly compact.
Mom was an only child and her folks had moved west from Arkansas, leaving her extended family far behind. It was just Mom and her parents, my Grandma and Grandpa McGowne ("Mac" to the four of us kids). Dad had a sister but they had lost touch over the years, so no cousins or aunts joined us at the table. It was always just the eight of us; four kids, our parents and Mom's parents at Thanksgiving. Which was enough!
Most often we went to Grandma and Grandpa's farm then stopped to see my dads folks on the way back home, they weren't much for family gatherings. We would all get a hug, a piece of stale candy, a few questions about school or what activities we were involved in, then lay on the floor and watch Lawrence Welk for a while. This was OK with us, it meant more time at the farm!
Grandma Mac's tradition was to start the food prep the weekend before. Her kitchen was tiny, but each year she cooked, canned, smoked, baked and processed hundreds of pounds of produce and fish caught out of the river at their back door. Thanksgiving was her royal presentation! Home-made rolls, (my dads favorite)...mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, a perfectly baked turkey, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pistachio jello, and then the desserts; pecan pie (my favorite,) pumpkin pie, and sometimes berry cobbler.
And then came my favorite part of the day,; Grandpa Mac always had a fire going in their wood stove and I'd lay down on the floor in front of it, my head on one of Grandmas fancy pin-tucked pillows. The Oregon rain would hang a gray cloud curtain over the farm, and the rain drops on the roof and the roar of the wood fire would lull me to sleep contentedly.
Now Thanksgivings are loud and raucous at my farm and with dozens of kids and cousins it's impossible to even consider laying down for a peaceful afternoon nap... but I am happy and content and as stuffed as the turkey(s) we serve. Thankful indeed!
I hope your Thanksgiving is a blessed one, full of faith and gratitude and hope for better times if your year has been a rough one. May God richly bless each and every one of you!