Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgivings Past

I had hoped to do a kind of "thankful tree" of my own tonight, complete with list of things I'm thankful for, but frankly I'm just too tired to attempt it. I know tomorrow will be hectic since we're travelling and I think I'd probably better get some rest. (One thing I will soon be thankful for, I hope, is SLEEP!)

One thing I do want to reflect on briefly thankfulness for thanksgivings past. I've always loved this season and day. Christmas is near and dear to my heart for so many deep reasons, but thanksgiving has its own special place in part because within my family it's always been the one time of year we usually spent with extended family. When I was growing up, it usually meant a trip from Richmond to Asheville, North Carolina, the city where both my parents grew up. We spent thanksgiving day most often with my Aunts, Myrtle and Janet (Lulu), both of whom have now passed away.

There was a period of time where we didn't travel much at thanksgiving or any other time, because my grandmother (who was ill) lived with us. But those thanksgivings are special in my memory too, because she was with us -- and because during that time the number of places at the table were beginning to grow in other ways, as my older siblings got married and started families of their own. Then after my grandmother passed away, in 1982, we began doing the thanksgiving trek to Asheville again. Some of my fondest fall memories during my high school years are of thanksgiving trips when we stayed at my aunt's apartment on the campus of Asheville school. In fact tonight, while taking a batch of pumpkin-butterscotch cookies out of the oven, I had a sudden flash on a very clear memory from thanksgiving 1985 -- sitting on the big, beautiful porch overlooking the green playing fields surrounded by the hazy, blue mountains, enjoying early morning bird calls and a moist chill in the air, curled up in sweatshirt, reading (of all things!) Madame Bovary for my senior high school world literature class. Can that still, precious morning really have been 21 years ago?

I miss my aunts. They were wonderful women -- southern to the core, stubborn, passionate, interesting. I knew Aunt Myrtle best, probably because we stayed at her place. I still recall her warm southern voice, her grin, the beautiful blue glass she collected on her shelves (I think my own small green glass collection had its genesis in my admiration for my aunt's unabashed love of beautiful glass), her eclectic music collection, and the marvelous window seats in the big windows in the living room of her school apartment. (She was the school nurse, so lived on campus for many years.) When I was very little, I used to think to myself that one day I would grow up and live in a big house in the mountains with lots of window seats. I still like the idea!

Myrtle used to make mayonaise muffins on thanksgiving. These are marvelous little muffins made mostly from white flour and mayonaise. They probably don't sound very apetizing, and they're really not that healthy, but oh my, that warm bready smell...they were so good with melted butter!

My thoughts are obviously tired and meandering. I could write more, but think I'll stop for now. I am grateful for these memories, and grateful for the memories yet to be made, especially this coming week during my family's "reunion" gathering. All four of us siblings, our spouses, and the children still at my parents. The largest gathering we've managed in five years. It will be very good to be home for thanksgiving!


Erin said...

Those Thanksgivings past sounded wonderful. Hope this one was too! :)

Beth said...

It was! Can't wait to have time to write about it... :-)