Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thanksgiving Over the Years

  Thanksgiving traditions that seemed set in stone when I was little are fond memories 70+ years later. When we were children we were dressed up in our Sunday best and taken to Grandma’s house for the day. There we sat down to a huge meal of turkey and all the trimmings served on the company china, with lots of polished silverware, and huge heavy serving dishes to pass. Dinner at 12 pm, on the dot!  

  After the meal, the “ladies” retired to the kitchen where they chatted, washed and dried all the “good dishes” and scrubbed the pots and pans while the grandpas and Dad dozed in comfortable chairs. Weather permitting, an afternoon walk was followed by games of cribbage.

  At 6 pm (on the dot!), all the plates and silver and leftovers came out again for “supper”, followed by another session of more dishwashing in the kitchen. At last, bundled up in snow suits, we fell asleep in the cold car on the way home.  Dad carried us in to bed and when we woke up it was Friday. 

  That tradition of going to Grandma’s house changed when, just out of college, the Writer and I were married in September and I cooked my first Thanksgiving feast in November for a houseful.  

Around a makeshift table, guests sat in borrowed chairs and included the grandparents who had cooked all those Thanksgiving dinners of my childhood. 

  Much pressure for the new cook!

  No one was more astonished than I was when I produced a huge turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, vegetables, and assorted pies that all tasted delicious! 

  Subsequent Thanksgivings were spent in many different ways and places as people moved, relationships changed, another generation was added, beloved grandparents died. A most memorable holiday was the one in 1987 when I returned from Mexico, jet lagged and exhausted, on the day before Thanksgiving with two newly adopted children!

  Other unforgettable Thanksgivings have been spent serving holiday meals to Hmong, Somali and other new immigrants and homeless people in our town, followed by cleaning up after hundreds of diners.  Never have I felt more fortunate and thankful for my own blessings than when serving these people. 

  Now our children have young families, large houses, new traditions, and we are the guests. This year we will have dinner in Charleston with the families of two children, including a newborn baby. Missing will be one son in Florida with a baby due any minute, one daughter in Germany, and another in Minnesota. 

  Wherever and however (or even IF) you celebrate Thanksgiving, Thursday can be a day to reflect on and appreciate our blessings and to vow to bless and be a blessing in the lives of others in return. 

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 11, 2022

Finally … Fall!!

  We had to travel a ways, but we finally found some fall color.
  The trees here on the coast that do lose their leaves in autumn this year went directly from green to brown to bare. Fall is my favorite season and I was missing it! Over the weekend I saw a photo someone had taken of a beautiful tree in full fall colors, so we decided to take a drive and find it. 

   And we did. At Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge near McBee, SC, we had the whole 46,000-acre preserve to ourselves! Beautiful hilly roads meandered through longleaf pine woods with small lakes, a few deciduous trees, and occasional golden fields of wire grass breaking up the green of the pines.         

  Longleaf pine once covered 90 million acres of the southeastern United States until it was cleared by the timber industry in the 20th century. Places like Sandhill attempt to restore the pine forests to the state.

Baby long leaf pines and young oaks


   Before the long drive home, we chose a trail to hike that took us through the tall pines, down a hill to Martin’s Lake. The trail ended at a boardwalk and photo blind where we hung out a while with a flotilla of paddling Canada geese. 
  On the way out we exchanged surprised looks with a big buck deer strolling across the road, thankful this big guy was in a preserve and would be safe later this month from hunters.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Election Day November 8

  Midterm elections in the United States are on Tuesday. All elections are important but this one is another one that feels especially so. 

   Voting is both a privilege and a responsibility and just in case someone is still thinking about their vote, here is some good advice.