Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Memories

Lisa and Anita - Sisters and Best Friends

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  In fact, fall is my favorite time of year.  I truly enjoy Christmas, but honestly, I think we get so caught up in everything prior to the holidays that we forget what the true meaning is about.  With Thanksgiving, it is like we are able to total focus on the meaning of that special day. 
My favorite memories reach back to when I was a small child.  I remember waking up to the smell of my mother cooking delicious dishes for us to enjoy later in the day.  This may seem odd, but to me, Thanksgiving Day is not the same unless I wake up to the smell of celery and onions sauteing in butter!  Now you should know that leads later in the day to the best dressing ever!  If you are from a part of the country that eats stuffing instead of dressing then I urge you get to the South this Thanksgiving so that you will know what you are missing!  It is incredible!  Of course you should also know that the perfect dressing starts with the perfect pan of cornbread! 
My sister Anita and I were taught how to make cornbread at a very early age.  My mom was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta – and in case you didn’t know this, you don’t get much more southern than the Delta – making the perfect pan of cornbread is a must!  We were also taught in our early twenties how to make dressing.  I very clearly remember one Thanksgiving that my mom said, “Girls, its time you two know how to make dressing!”  I am so glad she did.  I am amazed at the people I know who tell me they have no idea how to create this Thanksgiving essential!
Another favorite part of Thanksgiving was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  This is a tradition that I have looked forward to every year of my life!  I love seeing the balloons, the marching bands, and of course, the Rockettes!  Two side stories about the Macy’s parade:  The first is that my husband, Jon, knows that actually attending the Macy’s parade is on my list of things to do before I die.  Not being morbid, but it is just one of those things I am determined to do one day.  I want to experience first-hand the excitement of this quintessential Thanksgiving tradition. 
The second Macy’s story involves a dog that I got one year the day before Thanksgiving.  It was a precious Shih Tzu that needed the just the right name.  She would be my “baby”.  I wanted to name her Olivia.  My mom thought perhaps that was a little too “human” for a puppy and encouraged me to keep thinking.  The next morning as we were cooking and watching the parade, my mom looked at me and said, “how about Macy”?  She had thought of the perfect name for my puppy! 
Another memory involves an activity I did each year when I taught second grade.  Every child in my class would bring one ingredient and we would make “Sharing Soup.”  The children would dress as Pilgrims and Indians and enjoy the soup they made together!  I looked forward to this each year! 
A final Thanksgiving memory happened the year that my sister and I decided that we would “DO” Thanksgiving for our family.  We decided to give our parents the day off and we would take care of everything.  We were probably in our mid to late twenties and we thought it was time for us to be adults and “host” Thanksgiving.  We, of course, had been accustomed to going to Mom and Dad’s or our grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving.  This year, we would stay in our hometown and Anita and I would plan and cook the entire Thanksgiving dinner for Mom, Dad, my sister and her husband and my niece, Paige.  Well, we thought we had it all completely under control.  We cooked a turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, our Mom’s wonderful green bean casserole (not your regular green bean casserole, this recipe has shoe peg corn, water chestnuts and other scrumptious goodies), spinach Madeline - you get the picture - the works!!!  We also had homemade pecan pie and Chess pie for dessert.  Chess pie is another Delta recipe that is simply delicious, rich and decadent!  The table was set and everything was in order for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.  Our parents arrived at Anita’s house and we were so proud of ourselves!  Just as we were about to begin, Anita (and I don’t know why she did this) opened the microwave.  At this point, I should tell you that Anita is the “calm sister” so when I tell you that she opened the microwave and exclaimed “what the **** is this?” we all just gaped at her!  We looked into the microwave and there was the entire stick of butter – the KEY ingredient in Chess Pie – sitting cold and yucky in the microwave.  She had baked the entire pie without the butter!  The pie was beautiful, but inedible!  It was just hilarious!  We thought we had pulled off the perfect Thanksgiving dinner…. Right up until the last minute!  We laughed and laughed.  It is still one of my all time favorite holiday memories!  It was just so funny!  We realized that pulling off the perfect holiday dinner is hard to do.  But we also realized that having fun and making memories that last forever is the most important part of any holiday!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories?

     My Thanksgiving table last year.  I love these pheasants!

I used table runners to tie bows on some of the chairs.  I love little extra touches that make a room special!


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