Wonderful reflection on the day from an awesome family member. Thanks Bill M.!
When I was a kid, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins would gather on Thanksgiving in the holler on the Little Niangua. Teasing of the kids was a part of the gathering as well as deer hunting, duck hunting, squirrel hunting etc. The game was prepared and cooked and was part of the larder added to the table already groaning from the weight of hams and turkey that had been smoked in the old wood smoke house. Vegetables grown in our gardens provided a vivid pallet of color. Butter and cottage cheese made from the milk provided by our cows added to the bounty. The desert table represented a competition between the ladies of the gathering to see who the uncrowned champion would be for this year.
After the bounty was consumed the adults would divide up some to do dishes, some to get water from the well as there was no running water in the house. Some went to the woods to cut wood for the Grandparents to heat their house. Cousins would help with various jobs dependent on age and gender. After the work had been accomplished male cousins would engage in battles to see who was the alpha male and female cousins would make certain the battle didn’t get out of hand.
In the evening left overs were consumed the livestock cared for and conversation among the adults turned to new ones at the gathering and ones who would no longer be at the table. Late in the evening some would make their way back home, some might engage in a coon hunt, and young ones would be piled into a feather bed to soon be fast asleep.
Now days the Grandparents, parents, and several of the Aunts, and Uncles are gone to their reward. Cousins have become the Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles. New generations of cousins with new ways occupy the tables, and add to the joyous cacophony of young voices. The hunt is no longer a part of the celebration, and the house can be warmed by the flip of a switch. Water comes into the house by turning on a facet, and the outhouse is gone.
I look back in those days with fondness and if I close my eyes and listen I can still see those no longer with us. I hear their voices and their laughter ringing in my ears. The smells from the kitchen of long ago wafts through my memory and I can still taste items on that groaning long table. I then know what I am thankful for, memories.
I think that about captures my feelings for the day as well. Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you have many wonderful memories (both past and being made right now) to be thankful for.