Thursday, November 28, 2013

WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR? by CHERYL PIERSON



Hi everyone. Our Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA is today! For the last several years, I have not “cooked” a big Thanksgiving dinner. With my daughter going to LA every year at that time and my son opting for McDonald’s so much of the time in the past, there just wasn’t a need to make a big dinner. Yes, my husband did complain. Every year. But he never offered to help with anything, either. In desperation, we tried different traditions—the “Festive Fajita Party Pack” from our nearest Mexican restaurant, which is wonderful, by the way; the “Smoked Turkey Dinner and Fixin’s” from a fantabulous barbecue place we love…but of course, it wasn’t the same.

This year, my daughter will be home with us, and she wants “the dinner.” I haven’t bought my turkey—or anything else. It’s Tuesday. I’m not stressed, though. Let me tell you why. I have the money in the bank to buy those groceries. So many people don’t. If I want to make sweet potato pie, I don’t have to skimp on the marshmallows. If I want to make turkey, I don’t have to worry about one brand being ten cents cheaper than the brand I really want. And best of all, I can buy both kinds of cranberry sauce, since I’m the only one in my family who really loves the whole berry kind. So I’m very thankful for the fact that I don’t have to worry about being able to provide the menu I want to make for this holiday dinner. And everyone will get what they want, even Embry--who likes everything. Would you believe English peas are one of his favorites?

My third "child"--Embry
I have learned to cook pretty darn well. It wasn’t always this way, believe me. My mother was a wonderful cook, but being a child of the 60’s I couldn’t have cared less about learning from her. I was happy with a hamburger (which I did learn how to make for myself) and chips. I learned how to cook only after I got married—and there were quite a few trial and error “flubs” that had to be tossed. They were unsalvageable. So I’m glad that now I have learned through the years and am able to do the job right, at this point. And I'm so glad I don't have to make everything from scratch like my mom and grandmothers did!

My great great grandmother on my dad's side of the family, Sarah Manery Casey. She was full blood Indian, married to an Irishman...My son, Casey, is named for that part of our family.
I have the physical ability to cook. This may seem like a little thing. We gripe and complain sometimes about having to fix a meal, but I promise you, one short walk through a nursing home will make you thankful for so many things. Seeing the older people there who would give anything to be able to prepare a meal once more, or go work in their gardens, makes me realize how much I have to be thankful for—even the simple preparation of a holiday meal takes on new meaning.

I have a wonderful family. And this year they are all going to be home for Thanksgiving! So many military men and women are far away from everything familiar in dangerous situations. Families separate as children grow up and move away. It’s not always possible to get home for the holidays. And many homeless men and women have no families to go to.

I have fantastic memories of growing up, all of us gathered around my grandmother’s table, or wherever we could manage to find a place to perch with our plates. We spilled out onto the porch, into the living room, eating in shifts. Of course, the men ate first. It was a huge gathering—my grandmother had eleven children. I have thirty-three cousins on my mother’s side of the family. When we were done there, we’d go to my dad’s side and visit. There were only eight cousins there, but three of them were boys, and the younger two loved to play cowboys and Indians. What could be better? Another blessing to be thankful for—boy cousins who were just my age.

A good time was always had by all, and that was the holiday that brought everyone home to granny’s house, even if they couldn’t come at Christmas. I had a cousin, Julie, who was a few months older than I. She was my “partner in crime”. One Thanksgiving, we spotted a package of six Milky Way candy bars in the refrigerator—our favorite. With everything going on, we managed to sneak the package out, and she hid it in her jacket. We made it out the door and into the nearby woods. This was quite a trick, since she had three younger siblings at the time. We ate those candy bars, three each. I can tell you, I was feeling sick when I ate that last bite. But we were so proud of ourselves for managing to get them out undetected and to actually be alone to commit the rest of the crime. When we got back to the house, our Aunt Joyce was beside herself. It turned out, she had bought those candy bars for a specific purpose—to make her “Mississippi Mud Slide Cake” that two of her brothers-in-law had requested. Of course, as eleven-year-old children, we’d never even thought that the candy bars might be needed for a recipe. We laugh about it now, but at the time, it was serious stuff. I thought she was going to whip us good, and Julie and I both believed our mothers would have let her!

My Aunt Joyce--she was the only woman I ever knew growing up who had been in the Navy. Loved that woman, but she put the fear in us over those Milky Ways!

These are only a few of the “everyday” things that I’m so thankful for. This is really just the tip of the iceberg. When we think of everything we have in this beautiful world, it’s impossible to make a list of things to be thankful for, isn’t it?

What are you thankful for this holiday? Do you have a favorite memory to share? Let's hear it!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

4 comments:

  1. Cheryl, another thought provoking post. I am so grateful, as you mentioned, that I have a home and cash in the bank and family. Let's pray for the homeless, the lonely, and those who can't be with their families. We have a lot for which we can be thankful, don't we?
    My Thanksgiving memories are similar to yours but with fewer cousins. We only went to my mom's mother's or my mom's brother's home for Thanksgiving. My aunt was a spectacular cook, and I always looked forward to her desserts.

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  2. Cheryl, what a treat to hear about your family and traditions. Your traditions sound much like ours -- and my great grandmother on my father's side was 100-percent Indian, too! (This is getting too weird, no? :-D )

    I have so many things to be thankful for, I couldn't begin to list them all. I'm enormously thankful to have such good friends and wonderful memories of growing up surrounded by all the love and craziness families give one another.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, sweetie. HUGS!!!!

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  3. Dear Cheryl--Your tip of the iceberg really just about covers everything. As usual, I love hearing about your family and ancestors. Don't we remember the strangest things? The Milky Ways--I wonder who else in the family rememberes that story.
    This is why I keep my memories and anecdotal childhood stories to myself-both my sisters would correct or contradict me every time.

    It's funny, we spend every Christmas and every Thanksgiving alone--just the two of us--but we're perfectly happy. None of us travel on Holidays. Our daughter came over Tuesday and we called that Thanksgiving. Our son and family lived in MI, but she has dozens of family members scattered nearby in the state.
    While my parents were alive, my family, and my two sisters families congregated at Mother and Daddy's home. Those were good years. We'd all bring food and help out, and after dinner (at lunchtime)--some went to nap, but several of us adults began a game of Texas 42 (domino game), playing by a foursome. We'd drag chairs up to corners, and I could see the person's hand on my right, and also the one on the left. It was fun to see how they bid. When one or two became tired, bored, or lost several rounds he/she would relinquish the chair to someone else. This could go on four hours or more.
    After such a long time, Mother would come in and say, "It's time to stop playing and go home. I'm tired."
    That was my mother. Isn't it funny as young adults we thought our parents would just be thrilled for all 13 of us to pile in for Thanksgiving day? I see a different perspective now!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family--and Embry--I love Embry.

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  4. We always went to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving too. Sometime it was my dad's parents and others by mother's. Some years we went to both. And yes, the men ate first. I never thought that was fair but such is life. Also, when my cousins and I became teenagers, we were elected to do the dishes. We complained but it really wasn't that bad and after the women rested and visited awhile, they came in to help.

    Neither set of grandparents had much money, but with their children pitching in, they were always able to put on a good spread. Plus, living on farms they always had fresh and home canned vegetables.

    It was a great time for cousins to get together visit, play and hunt for doodle bugs. All good memories.

    Wonderful post, Cheryl for reminding us of memories of the past.

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