Miller: “Thanks” for the memories

Published 2:25 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Thanksgiving Day quickly approaches, and I am reminded of celebrations from my past. As a young child, my family’s Thanksgiving holiday was spent without fail at our maternal grandparents’ home in Neshoba County. The farmhouse stood high atop a hill, and the yard consisted of several acres. It’s a good thing too, because grandchildren ran and played over every square inch.

Delectable smells floated through the air as my siblings, cousins, and I ran in and out, letting the screen door slam behind us. At any given time, several little bodies stood on the hearth in front of the roaring fire briefly taking off the chill before scampering out into the frosty air once more.

Our breath appeared like puffs of smoke before us, but that didn’t slow our steps. Hopscotch, tag, Fox and the Goose, and Simon Says kept our legs moving and quickly burned away our hearty breakfast. We all took turns running into the house to impolitely inquire, “When do we eat? Is it ready yet?”

With a chuckle, we were shooed outside once more. Not a moment too soon for any of us, the dinner bell clang, clang, clanged and children seemed to magically appear from every corner of the farm racing toward the house.

We obediently washed in the cold water from the tap while our stomachs rumbled in anticipation of the feast to come. The smaller children sat proudly on their lard bucket booster seats around the large farm table laden with bowls of delicious home made delicacies. We sat impatiently squirming and waiting for the meal to begin. None would dream of sneaking a morsel until grace had been said; we knew better than that! But we peeked out to see who had their eyes open so we could tattle on them.

Soon our plates were filled to overflowing, and we dug in with gusto, enjoying every morsel. Before long we headed outside again. Boredom was not a word in our vocabulary, and our imaginations served us well. The large gas tank outside the kitchen window was our silver steed. He raced valiantly over hill and dale to rescue damsels in distress!

Large leaves served as plates; acorns and berries adorned them as we sipped from imaginary teacups. We frequently reminded less mannerly guests to hold up their pinkies and refrain from slurping their tea!

Mamaw always purchased the largest turkey she could find and added a ham for good measure. Days were spent preparing cakes and pies for the large crowd of family who would soon descend on the farm. Many of us stayed several days, adding more preparation and work for both of my grandparents, but as I recall my grandmother did the lion’s share.

As a grandmother myself, I think back on my childhood and give thanks for the sacrifice and hard work of my own dear grandmother. She made every day special with her giving heart and humble spirit. May we all give thanks for our many blessings and make happy memories this year.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.