Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Time

I love Thanksgiving. Great food, good times with family and no pressure about gifts. Ah, my kind of holiday. This week my mind is full of memories about past Thanksgivings. For years we ate the big meal at Grandma B.’s. Then we added too many grandkids, ran out of room and had to move the feast across the street to her sister’s house. I loved eating there. Great Aunt Tottie never had kids, so she always had nice, modern furniture, dishes that weren’t chipped and matching glasses and silverware. None of that jelly jar, fruit jar, glass from the laundry detergent stemware we used at my house. No sir, she had those nice, colored metal tumblers with the matching pitcher. Everything had a place at her house and everything was in its place. I wasn’t used to that coming from a family of three kids, a swing shift working dad and a mom who thought deep cleaning was a disease.* Neither were my cousins. I’m sure we were like the troops landing at Normandy when we showed up at Tottie’s house in noisy rounds of three and four kids at a time. She was probably exhausted when we all went home at the end of the day, and I’m sure she felt like her home had been invaded by enemy forces. No wonder Uncle Red was nicely numbed by Falstaff by the time we all got there. Or was it PBR? I forget. Help me out SuperCop.

For us kids, it meant a day of poking ourselves full of food, avoiding turnips and sweet potatoes, roughhousing with each other and watching 90% of the adults smoke themselves into a blue haze while yakking about old times. Mama is the only one of her siblings who doesn’t smoke. The rest of them keep Brown and Williamson in business. Aunt Tottie was a Pall Mall gal, and Grandpa B. smoked so much his fingertips were yellow. Yes sir, there was some puffin’ going on during dessert and coffee. It was a nice compliment to Aunt Brenda’s chocolate and coconut cream pies. She makes the best meringue in the world. Activities for the kids after the meal included fighting over Uncle Red’s miniature slot machine he bought in Las Vegas and sneaking peeks at his Hustler magazines stashed in the bottom of the magazine holder in the bathroom. I think it’s funny no adult ever questioned why it took us kids so long to pee. If the weather was nice enough, we played outside. That meant staying far enough away from Uncle Red’s dog, Jack, to keep from losing the seat of your pants. God bless that dog. I would have been edgy too, if I’d been tormented by a dozen rowdy kids. We were all usually wearing some kind of sock cap crocheted by Aunt Tottie and given to us the previous Christmas. She was a sock cap, scarf, afghan crocheting fool. Hang on folks……Oooh, I had to pause for just a moment while I laughed out loud at the gold caps she made everyone one year. Sorry SuperCop. I was picturing you in yours and laughed so hard I almost wet my pants. Never mind that I was wearing one too.………

As I grew older I gravitated more to the adult conversations held after dinner, listening to their stories about growing up together and learning about their lives before marriage and kids. We lost Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Red. We all grew up and had children of our own. We quit having the big meal and started having gatherings with our own parents and siblings. I love the meal we have now with Baby Ruth, Zeke and my brothers, but I kind of miss that big, noisy gathering. And I miss Aunt Tottie. Her last Thanksgiving was spent just a few years ago with us. Weighing in at 89 pounds, she ate enough pie to choke a horse. A sliver of this and a sliver of that she called it. She was still smoking too, although she pretended she wasn’t because she was losing a battle with emphysema. As I prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, I am grateful for my health and grateful for my family. Not just my parents, brothers, husband and child, but my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great aunts, great uncles and all those folks who enriched my early years with a wonderful blend of goofiness, red neckedness, history and laughter. I am one lucky girl.

*Clarification-mama didn’t keep a dirty house. She just didn’t worry about dust and clutter.

8 comments:

Supercop said...

Uncle Red's favorite beers in this order, the 70's- PBR, early 80's- Drummond Bros. He also liked the ocassional Falstaff & Stroh's.

By the way I ended up with the Slot Machine. It was gonna be pitched out after the action so I latched onto to it. It still has old pennies in it.

hulagirlatheart said...

Oooh, you have the slot machine? How long have you been hiding that tidbit? I'm so jealous.

rain said...

Happy turkey day.

janjanmom said...

I snorted over the crocheted hats-they were always in such LOUD goofy colors, weren't they!!

Uncle Red sounds a little racy Hulagirl.

Did supercop edit out the "nanna nanna boo boo" at the end of his comment-I know I heard it!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving Hula girl! I'm so glad that you clarified your mothers housekeeping. I felt some tightness in my chest just anticipating her reaction when she read that. LOL My husband's family had Thanksgivings like your family had. I'm glad that we married young so that I got to participate, blue haze and all. We have an old audio family movie of one Thanksgiving when everyone was still alive..priceless!

Vicky said...

It was me Hula Girl...forgot to fill in the boxes! Duh!

hulagirlatheart said...

Happy Thanksgiving guys!!

Jason said...

Another magnificent post. I think I am going to steal your word, "redneckedness" as I have a very healthy supply of it running through my veins as well.