When I was young, Thanksgiving in our family began early in the morning with a herd of kids and grandkids tucked under blankets all throughout Grandma and Grandpa’s tiny house in the Ozarks. If you slept through the rooster crowing, the backup alarm was Grandpa opening the creaky door to their wood-burning furnace and loading some of the wood that he and the grandsons chopped in late summer. Grandma began preheating her old oven before dawn. An old bbq grill was refashioned into a warming tray. The coffee maker worked overtime. When we heard the bacon sizzle and pop in the cast iron skillet we knew it was time to wake up and get on our Sunday best.
The girls worked under Major Grandma in the kitchen snapping peas, shucking corn, mashing potatoes, doing anything Grandma had not prepared the night before due to space constraints in the fridge. Orders for this spice or that salt rang out in her high-pitched voice. The boys loaded ice into the coolers on the back porch, moved wood onto the front porch for the furnace, set up the table for dominos later that night, apportioned the moonshine snuck in by a funny uncle or two, and dried any dish on command.
The day was well underway by the time we heard the network music for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the living room. The cavalcade of vehicles descended on the one-lane holler leading to my grandparents’s home. Relatives and friends streamed in and out while TBS broadcast 24 hours of “A Christmas Story” following the Westminster Dog Show. The loudest uncle shouted grace to kin in all corners of the property as men, women, and children stopped wherever they were: at the card table, playing in grandpa’s harvested corn field, in the creek across the road, wherever we were we stopped, bowed heads, and gave thanks. Then we feasted.
Multiple turkeys, every type of casserole, then afterwards, dirt cake, pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, and while half of the men briefly fell asleep while watching football, the others went to stand in the gravel drive to drink beer and smoke cigarettes and look at cousin so-and-so’s new car or talk about uncle so-and-so’s new job while keeping an eye on the younger grandkids playing outside. The older grandkids and the aunts cleaned up and then saved dessert for last with coffee and wine at the kitchen table served with town gossip.
Later that night for the older grandkids and the aunts and uncles was the Turkey Tourney with everyone heading 45 minutes north to watch our parents’s high school basketball team fight for a spot at state. The younger ones stayed back and watched a movie while laying in blankets and pillows at Grandma and Grandpa’s feet. Never was my Grandmother more fulfilled and content.
Our traditions are a little different now that I’m older with a family of my own. Some things remain the same: the day’s prep, the Thanksgiving parade, “A Christmas Story,” card games, grace. The house isn’t as full as Grandma’s once was, but our hearts are in comparison.
Thank you for your support and encouragement this past year and for our daily fellowship weekdays from 11-2 central. I’m grateful for my radio team (Kane, Steve, Mike, Rich, David, Jennifer, Kenny) at Radio America who do a fantastic job putting this show on the air every day, my brother Sergio and some talented others who hold the fort allowing me to spend some precious time with my family; the crew at The First (Juan, Chris, Eric) with the simulcast, my friend and agent Adam and the wise counsel of Jerry; my legal team; Lorraine who rolled up her sleeves and pitched in with content here, the amazing crew in the daily chat on Youtube, and everyone who shares the content we all make. You bless me more than I deserve. I’m grateful for, and to, my husband Chris and my sons. Most of all, I’m grateful for my Creator, His blessings, mercies, and guidance.
Happy Thanksgiving and may you enjoy a wonderful time with friends and family and may we rejoin with full hearts. Thank you.