Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm thankful for...memories!

I love Thanksgiving.

There's not the hassle of presents or too much worry (in our part of the country) about the weather. There's food and family and friends and it's a loud noisy zoo and when it's over I'm ready for a nice padded cell but I love it. Thus, it's officially my holiday and the door is open. That means our kids, their in-laws and their friends are all invited, along with anyone else who doesn't have a family.

Tomorrow is the big day! I'm in the kitchen making pecan pies (for both my daughters), pumpkin pies (for my middle grandson), lemon pies (for Husband) and pumpkin cheesecakes (for both my sons-in-law and one granddaughter). And hot yeast bread from Husband's grandmother's recipe for the whole bunch of them. We'll probably say grace with thirty or more people holding hands in a circle and then it's feasting the rest of the day.

And sometime in the middle of the afternoon we'll sing happy birthday to our middle child, Amy, who was born on Thanksgiving morning, which was November 25 that year! I wanted a daughter with pretty blue eyes and that's exactly what I got and she was nice enough to arrive before the hospital served Thanksgiving dinner so I didn't miss that. There's only been one Thanksgiving that she wasn't home in her whole life. Believe me we have made some wonderful memories in the past forty years.

I'm thankful for family, friends, health, fans, time to write and the list goes on to be longer than Santa's of naughty and nice children. But today I'm most thankful for memories. When the days are tough and there are some really big speed bumps in this journey of life, it's those wonderful memories that keep me from sitting in dark places. So I'm glad for them.

I'm thankful for the memory of my grandmother. She was my anchor in a tough world. She lived right next door to us and I stayed with her at night because she was blind and needed someone to lead her to church, across the yard to the neighbors or down town to visit with her old Aunties. Helen Keller said "The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be touched with the heart." That was my Granny. She taught me to close my eyes and see a person for who they really were and not judge by appearances. A kind heart and a gentle spirit doesn't have to be housed in a temple of gold. It can survive in a grass hut. And she made the most amazing jello salad and bean salad for Thanksgiving. It tasted wonderful but you had to shut your eyes because it sure was not a pretty sight.

I'm thankful for memories of Momma. She was a single mother at a time when society did not accept that as well as it does now. I could go play with all the little girls in my classroom but they couldn't come to my house. I thought d-i-v-o-r-c-e meant we had cooties in our house for a long time! Granny gave me roots. Momma gave me strong wings and courage to fly. I've never known a more fearless woman. If she faced off with the devil, he'd have run whimpering back to hell's back forty. And she always, always made a banana nut layer cake for Thanksgiving. It had to age for at least three days and it was beautiful. We counted the days!

I'm thankful for the few memories I have of my Granny and Grandpa Gray. I never went to their house on Thanksgiving but when we did Granny would head for the kitchen and start cooking. It didn't matter if we had eaten ten minutes before she was determined to cook for us. And since I got to go to the kitchen with her, she entertained me with the most amazing stories. When Lemar, my son was two, I remember Grandpa showing him how to hold the fiddle and pull the bow across it and saying with a gleam in his eyes, "He's going to be a fiddle player for sure. Look how he takes to the instrument."

I'm thankful for all the memories my wonderful sister and I've made through the years. We both have affadavits signed in blood in our bank vaults stating that what we know about the other one will go to the grave with us. There was that Thanksgiving when Momma made her sit between both the boys she'd invited to dinner. Oops! One of them wasn't supposed to show up!

For memories that Husband and I've made through forty five years of marriage (you do understand that I was a baby when we married, right?). We started out on our very rocky pathway too young to know straight up from backwards on a sunny day, but we've survived and become best friends.

For memories I've made with all you Casa-Authors and for all the good times we've had. For being there to support me when I've whined and cheer with me when wonderful things happened.

Now it's time to get back to the kitchen. My granddaughters are here to help with the preliminary work and we're going to make some more memories. I heard someone say we should have banana layer cake...sorry guys, it's too late for this Thanksgiving. Maybe Christmas since Momma said it had to sit at least three days to be fit to eat. For anyone who'd like the recipe it's on my website!


If you have time to take a break tell me what your favorite Thanksgiving memory is!


  1. My goodness, Carolyn...I'm sitting here crying--happy tears for the joys and memories you lovingly shared.

    I'll hold the image you painted with your words in my heart as we get ready for our first Thanksgiving as changes doesn't it? But the memories we have in hearts are ours to keep forever.

    Thank you. :)

  2. Colleen: Thank you! Firsts are so so special and I'm sure you will make lots and lots of precious memories over this holiday.

  3. Carolyn, I'm thinking I want to come to your house for Thanksgiving! You had me starving and feeling empty with all those pies and then you filled me with a lovely, lovely story about your grandmother and mother. Thank you! This post was a feast!

  4. Amelia: The door is open. Dinner goes on the bar buffet style at noon and we feast until bedtime when everyone goes home. Come on, darlin'. We'd have such fun!If you are going to be late call me and I'll hide a piece of pecan pie!

  5. I want to one of your honorary family, Carolyn. One Thanksgiving at your house sounds more fun than the past ten at my house.

  6. Grace, darlin', you can be an honorary member of my zoo anytime and for however long you want. You can color with the three year old, draw with the eight year old or talk prom dresses with the older ones (there is an even dozen granddaughters), and keep filling your plate all day long. We'd love to have you!

  7. Lovely, Carolyn! My daughter who married this summer is working on Fri and so am I. So I'm driving out to see the two of them tomorrow, four hours from here and she's fixing her first Thanksgiving feast. I'm bringing the German chocolate cake! :) Store bought. What can I say? I had to work late last night--2 people called in sick and I worked to help out, and today, there were supposed to be 4 of us, and 1 called in sick and the other had plumbing problems--housewise, so it was a madhouse...So I'm thankful to be off from work tomorrow!!! Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  8. Terry, drive safe and make lovely memories!

  9. Carolyn, I just adore you. You have the most amazing bright spirit - you bring joy to everyone around you!

    Your story about your blind grandmother especially brought tears to my eyes. My youngest sister was blind for a summer when she was about 6 years old - I was her "seeing eye sister." (I would have been 12 then.) She says what she remembers most about that summer is how I read her Charlotte's Web. Memories and family bonds.... they are a treasure!

    Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for reminding me of a special time with my baby sister!

  10. Catherine! Thank you for stopping by today and sharing that "seeing eye sister" story. I bet your sister still smiles when she hears that story!