Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving - Wednesday

Faith in Jesus and family were the most important things to my grandmother.  Fifty years ago she decreed Thanksgiving as her family holiday.  She had birthed six children and raised five.  The older children were getting married, and as her family grew she wanted a time for all of them to be together.  Thus was born a tradition that rings so sweet for me, I can hardly find the words to explain it.

We start preparing for Thanksgiving early.  When you have 60 plus people to feed and sleep, there has to be some planing.  In the early years, Mammaw hand wrote lists of food for people to bring.  These days we mail out a letter of assignments a month in advance.  Our family that used to fit in Uncle Kenny's log cabin in the woods now fills nine cabins at a retreat center. 

Since this picture we have added four babies and one fiance.

I spend the year waiting for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  That's when we come together.  I cannot get there fast enough.  I want to be there to see each and every face walk through the door.  To welcome everyone with a hug.  To help carry in the food.  To see how the children have grown.  To claim my first slice of Aunt June's chocolate pie.

"We're mirrors to the past, in a way...We look into each other's faces and remember what we know." - Beverly Lewis

I look at faces and remember.  My heart is full.

Wednesday night supper is our first meal together.  This meal has been many things.  In recent years, it has become a cook off.  One year chili, one year soup.  This year is dips.  We have teams and team names.  The "original five" siblings are the judges.  A not quite real gold turkey serves as our trophy.  We won in one year with our chili - Rotel it on the Mountain.

After dinner the games begin.  The room is filled with sounds of dominoes and children.  Kids and adults run outside playing flashlight tag.  People are talking in groups all around.  There is much to catch up on.  There are stories to be told.  Oh the stories.  There are great arguments just waiting to be started and not quite completed.

Then the singing starts.  Upon hearing my voice and hearing the voices in this room, one would wonder if I am truly a member of this family.  There are songs of old.  The hymns.  These songs that shaped the original fives' childhood and thereby all of us.  They sit at a table and sing songs of my memory. 

We watch and are moved.  But there are also new songs.  Our sweet Jessica, who has somehow grown up, has written a song of our family.  She plays and sings.  I remember her as a baby singing the Doxology at Uncle Kenny's.  As I listen to her I watch her grandmother, watching her.  Generations together.

We are up late.  No one wants to waste our time together sleeping.  But we know the Big Day is coming... 


  1. This one brings tears to my eyes. For the past we will never see again, the present that we can't seem to soak up enough of and the future that we will view from our home in heaven. God is good! I can't be sad that it's over. I can't help but be happy that it all happened and I was a part of it. Love you. Tell everyone there that I love them all.

  2. Gayle - You are so sweet. Will tell all you send love. Have a happy Thanksgiving.