Tuesday, November 23, 2010
By Anita Clenney
As a child, I lived near several aunts and uncles, so cousins were plentiful. Most of the men, and a couple of aunts, are hunters, and had been going to the same hunting spot for decades. This has been a tradition in my family going back to before I was born.
Since Thanksgiving coincides with hunting season, and the men had a limited time off from work, they would usually go hunting, sometimes spending the holiday weekend in order to load up the freezer with venison. This meant they missed Thanksgiving dinner, but was it ever a blast for the kids! All the women and kids had a big sleepover. After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, we stayed up late, the women gossiping and making fudge and cookies while the kids played and tried to eavesdrop on the gossip. The men would come home and enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers before they started butchering the deer. Sounds like something from another century, right? Kind of matches the picture, and we are part Cherokee, although you can't tell it by looking at me. Now my paternal grandmother, she looked just like Geronimo. But we always had plenty of meat and lots of fun, even though we didn't have much money.
Now that I'm grown and married, we celebrate Thanksgiving at my parents or my husband's grandmother's house. Unfortunately, his grandmother passed away in February so the official dinner will be at his aunt's house instead, but there will be wonderful food and fond memories to be shared. His grandmother was the most incredible lady, full of energy and zest right up until a couple of weeks before she died. Her second husband flew Air Force One so she had lots of stories and lots of friends around Washington. She had her bridge parties, her weekly visits to the hair and nail salon, drove like a Nascar driver, and managed the family like a true matriarch. She lived life fully and lived it well. I hope to have that much energy when I'm her age. Actually, I'd like to have it now.
Then, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, we're going to my parents' for an after Thanksgiving dinner because my father, brother, and nephew will be hunting. But why stop at two dinners? I was craving turkey this past weekend so I cooked a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. I feel kind of like I cheated, but it was yummy. I think I've gained weight already just thinking about all the good food I have and will consume this holiday. Exercise anyone? Truly, does anyone know any really good diets?