This year my family traveled to visit our family for Thanksgiving in East Tennessee. This is never my first choice, to travel I mean, I am a home body as a rule and especially on a big holiday. I like to be the one doing the cooking. This year though, it worked out for us to go so we did.
My side of the family had a reunion a couple of weeks ago instead of the usual Thanksgiving celebration. We were blessed to have our precious Uncle Leon and Aunt Ornella as well as cousins John and Susan, which is always a special treat for us all. They have always lived far away so when they come home it is always a joy. My Aunt and Uncle are getting up in years and I have to catch myself when I hug them to not hug too hard because the thought always crosses my mind that this may be the last time. Morbid I know. Just trying to be prepared and enjoy them as long as I can.
It is not my intent, but I rarely get to see them and I just can’t bear the thought…..I as well feel this way about a lot of people in my life. We never know when this may be the last hug or laugh or words. Since my Mom has spent the last few years becoming less and less capable of knowing all of us, I am ever mindful of just how short life is.
This became even more relevant to me yesterday during our visit to my mother in laws home. I don’t see here as often now and when I do, it is always shocking at the amount of “slowing down” she has done. If you had asked me if it ever would have happened I would have never believed it, she was the Energizer Bunny before the bunny was….she never knew how to rest, take it easy…..always doing something. Even at a time of relaxation, she would be embroidering.
I learned how to cook for the most part from her. When I married the preacherman and moved to his hometown and was thrust amongst all the good cookin’ church ladies and I was enlightened to the world of casseroles and some of the best in Southern cooking. I mastered the Thanksgiving Dinner from my mother in law, this was the first food of hers I had ever eaten….on a trip there with my room-mate(pre-marriage) to see University of Tennessee vs Vanderbilt. Reason number twenty-eight on why I went…got to see boyfriend and check out his hometown. Mission accomplished and some great food for us hungry college kids!
It was evident this week that she is slowing down, she was more frail and smaller…..just like my own Mom, although my Moms mind is failing her, my Mom in law is still pretty sharp. It is just her body that is tuckering out. But I swear if she still wont hardly let me help her….frustrating. What is it about the
elderly that makes them not stop or rather allow us to help. I hope I will be different, I hope I allow my kids to do all they can……or maybe that is how I feel now, sorry kids!
We had our lunch at a local, very popular restaurant, The Cracker Barrel. I was amazed at the amount of people who ate out for their Traditional Thanksgiving meal. Do people not cook anymore? The over whelming part also was the amount of elderly people. I know this restaurant is a favorite of
the elderly as well as the Hardee’s breakfast, but it seemed there was mostly older folks. It actually made me sad and wonder…..where are all the children that go with these people. Did they choose to not be there with the Moms and Dads or maybe just like us went to the other side of the families dinner. I don’t know, it just seemed like of all the people there, ninety percent of them were older.
Maybe they have just “been there done that”, cooked the big meals, had the big house destroying family get together’s, broke the bank on all the pretty foods and accessories……maybe they are happy going out to eat and just driving home, in peace and quiet. I just don’t know. I think I was the only one who even cared, probably because two of my brood were not with us, I missed them and I missed not cooking for them all. My romantic view of life tends to get the best of me when I miss my kids.
On a side note: …..I also do not even want to obsess over the amount of people who play with those little wooden games with the golf tees that are on every table; the ones that have been scattered on the floor a zillion times and put back on the table and never disinfected. Then, while I watched people over and over touch those germ laced games and then pick up their fresh hot biscuits and jelly and eat them with the same dirty fingers……ugh, STOP! STOP I would think, yelling in my head…..then I notice my own people doing the same thing….just as I had also done before…..ewe, wish I had not remembered that part…….I must have been tired, obsessing about all that. Some days it just doesn’t help to think so much!
So in the end, I chose pork chops for my special holiday meal….seemed to be a good choice, it had to be made fresh and it was good… unlike the big piles of turkey and vats of gravy and pans of mashed potatoes that have been made for hours …there I go obsessing again! I also knew I had a great home cooked meal waiting for me in a few hours when we traveled back home at my own Mom and sisters house. Happy to report is was awesome!
Thanksgiving deems to be getting squished out with all the shopping deals….I have never shopped on this day, truthfully, I have never had a large supply of money to do shopping with and I am also pretty protective of sleep and I have large crows issues…someone always gets trampled…..it ain’t gonna be me, sista! I have great Thanksgiving memories….a day for slowing down, a long weekend, throwing a football. Watching the parades and dreaming of living in New York……oh to be a kid again, the truth is my days are numbered and I know it. Soon I too will be enjoying my meals where everyone knows my name…..not CHEERS!…but my local Cracker Barrel!