Growing up Thanksgiving was such a big deal to me. I can still picture my grandmother's old grey house, that she paid $1 a year rent for. The house that my mother moved into when she was in 4th grade. The grandkids mostly played in the large back yard. The lot behind my grandmother and it housed a bright red barn that I dreamed about playing in. There was usually a game of football going on. I tried to act like I knew what was going on. I remember sliding down the tin door of my grandma's cellar and walking back up it. I use to play pretend a lot so I'm sure I was talking to myself out there. The spare bedroom, with two full size beds was where the kids played when it was too cold or too dark to play outside. We tried to stay out of the way of the adults. I just tried to stay away from my uncle Willard and uncle Carl, they were mean! They tried to tickle me or would reach out and grab me just to hear my scream! Oh, and I adored my cousins. They were all older then me, the youngest of 8 grandkids. I even had a crush on my cousin Jerry before I knew that you weren't suppose to have crushes on your cousins. Tanya and Sheri would "torture" me. I remember crying once because they were swinging me back and forth by my hands and feet. But I still wanted to hang out with them because they were so beautiful! They got to wear makeup and talked about boys! They lived "far" away in the town called Tulsa that I got to go to once a year for new school clothes.
Each year my grandmother would bake a ham, fix mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, sweet potatoes (with the marshmallows of course) oh and the turkey dressing... my dear mother's dressing comes very close but it's just not the same and I couldn't tell you what the difference would be except that it was my grandmother making it back then. My uncles and aunts would all come down and most of my cousins too. Wayne, the oldest of the grandkids, is close to 15 years older then me so by the time I remember him he was off doing his own thing. My aunt Lorene would make green stuff that I was sure had another name (pistachio pudding) but I didn't know it. To us it was green and actually good. Because my grandmother's table would only seat 8 we had to eat in shifts. The men always went first and everyone else after that depending on how hungry you were and how fast you got to the table. The women ate last. Sometimes if I was especially starved I would get to eat mine on a TV tray in the living room.
Because of the condition of the house and my grandmother's health she had to move to a smaller house a few years before she died. That's what I miss most. The house usually got hot because there were around 25 people crammed into this tiny house, but we didn't mind, and usually dressed for it! I loved it! I loved the closeness of the family. The hugs and laughter filled my heart.
My grandmother died in the Spring of 1998. Just a few days after my 19th birthday. With her death came a separation of the family. Oh, we still love each other very much and see each other from time to time, but my grandmother was the glue that held us together. Now each of her four children have Thanksgiving with their own children and grandchildren and even a great grand child here and there. I've often wished that we could all get together again. To be filled up with the love that was shared in that one bedroom house that amazingly held over 25 people each Thanksgiving (and Christmas Eve-story second verse), to catch up and laugh, but our lives have taken on new courses. We are more scattered now. I'm now 3 hours away from that little house in Tahlequah.
But, perhaps we're not suppose to have a Thanksgiving celebration without my grandmother. In that case, we'll have to wait until the rapture, and oh, will we have something to be thankful then!