I've lived through 63 Thanksgivings so far. Most I don't remember, but this one I won't forget.
It was a quiet day with my children and grandchildren all going their separate ways and meeting other family obligations. (With my blessing, I might add, because I will get some quality time at Christmas this year)
But I cooked enough for Rene', Mama, and me. I actually made Mama's cornbread dressing with Mama sitting in her usual place in a cushioned chair at the head of the table. She directed me into how many "handfuls" of this and "little bits" of that. How to add salt and baking powder to plain flour because I was out of the self-rising kind. And the "whoop/whoop Too much!" when I poured an actual handful of salt and had to pour some back. She patiently instructed me in the fine art of knowing when the dumpling dough is stiff enough to roll out...
And she told me that her mother (my Mama Carter) always crumbled her biscuits into the dressing along with the cornbread; then Mama said she learned years ago that a co-worker's father always made dressing, but he supplemented the cornbread with a couple of slices of "really done" toast and Mama liked it better that way.
Hmm. Details in our mundane kitchen conversation that used to fly over me as unnoticed and unappreciated as the yellow butterflies I used to take for granted.
But I pay attention now...and record them in my blog. So I won't forget.
The dressing and dumplings turned out pretty great, I must say. Good enough that I had to lie down after we had eaten and let my food "get used to me." (nod to another family memory I don't want to forget)
Mama is going on 97. She asked maybe two or three times if I thought I could do them now, implying but not saying "When I'm not here anymore, do you think you can do this by yourself?"
Yes, I think I can. But one thing is for sure: I will never make them without thinking of her, and in my mind, she'll still be in her cushioned chair orchestrating the whole process.
In the afternoon, Rene' tinkered on his latest project. The weather was beautiful. Almost hot, so Mama and I sat on the back porch. Never able to sit and be idle, she brought with her a wash cloth and Christmasy-colored thread to crochet around the edges.
I, who have absolutely no problem sitting and being idle, brought nothing. She took her usual seat on the porch swing. I took my place in the rocking chair beside her.
The angle of the afternoon sun found its way under the deck roof and warmed her legs for a good fifteen minutes before sinking below the tree line. It felt good, she said. I nodded and continued rocking, staring into the back yard and reflecting on my blessed life.
I commented on what a loud ruckus the crows were making. She agreed, without taking her eyes off her next stitch. She did look at the big bird I pointed out. Said it was most likely a hawk. We watched it a while. And then she said, "You know, sometimes they carry off little dogs."
I nodded and caught a glimpse of our spoiled dogs. They were sprawled out in the yard in the last bit of dying sunlight letting their scraps "get used to them." I chuckled. Those two were in no danger of being swooped up by a hawk.
Just random thoughts from Thanksgiving 2016 that is in the books. Just Mama, Rene', and me. A quiet, but blessed day.
God showed up...even there.