Turkey Day in the South

Times changes and things change with time.  However, some things stay blissfully the same in my memories – like the Thanksgiving day we put the cooked turkey out on the back porch and the neighbor’s dog stole it and drug it around half the neighborhood before another dog took it away from him.  Or the time mama’s cousin Benny unexpectedly showed up for the day, fresh off the ship that had docked in Newport News.  How handsome he was in his uniform and how proud I was as we sat on the side porch and neighbors dropped by to welcome him home for the holiday.  Our cousins from various parts of NC showed up and brought their feasts with them so we could all have a brief visit before he shipped out to the Mediterranean.

I’m looking over my menu today and find that is almost identical to one from 1960:fried chicken,  baked ham,  turkey and stuffing, gravy, cranberry orange relish, collard greens, home canned greened beans, home frozen butter beans, corn, candied yams, devilled eggs, potato salad, home made pickle tray, home made yeast rolls, iron skillet baked cracklin’ cornb bread, fresh coconut cake, pecan pie, ambrosia, banana pudding, citrus punch, sweet iced tea.  In other parts of the South, similar menus will be spread out on tables to ooos and ahhhs.  There will be local specialties added to menus and some items will be subtracted.

The day starts with hunters heading out to the woods while the women stay home and cook, listen to the parades on TV, and tell stories about the past or present – laugh and cry together.  Those who have passed are remembered with tears and love.  Babies on the way are belly kissed or touched and given a prayer that their delivery will be safe and mom and child will be healthy.  And if a new member of the being is introduced, to tell her horror stories about her date (yep, that boy rode that old hawg a mile before he had the sense to fall off).

I’m grateful to be a Southern woman.  I probably move a little too slow and say “bless your heart” too many times, but I’ll do my best to make you happy and comfy and safe.

I wish all of y’all a blessed Thanksgiving.  My our gracious God cause His face to shine upon you and His love extend to all of you and yours.  Bless your heart!


11/16 Society: Happy Birthday!

By the time we got home from Woodstock……Thank you all for showing up for the 11/16 Birthday party. Please don’t swim in the nishikigoi pond. Thank you. and still watch out for the brown acid.

Happy birthday to my dear ones:  to you who have gone one ahead, to those in Virginia, Durham, Hakone, Israel, Knightsbridge,  Noo Yawk City, and N’awlins.  May the year ahead be good to you:  “we few, we happy few”.  I raise my can of Coke to you in salute and wish I could give you all a big birthday hug and kiss. 

Songs today reminding me of you and the years  keep weaving through my head and heart:  a tapestry of light, shadows, tears, laughter, faith, redemption, wildness and peace, but especially of love.  I hear “Seven Bridges Road”, “Born to Run”, “Disco Inferno”, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” Handel’s Water Music, “Jolie Blonde”, …but especially I hear Seven Bridges Road.  

I remember the night we introduced that song to Masashi and how it captured him.  He sat at the piano and the five of us present wove that song for it seems like forever:  alto recorder, violin, guitar, tenor sax, voices.  We wove it until the stars went to sleep and the last note quivered in dying silver. 



South meets East

Definitely a south meets east morning – I awoke early. Saturday is never a sleep in day. Before anyone in my household awoke, I was busy. It was a warm and humid morning, but a gentle cooling breeze was blowing. I began to work on my 3 bonsai:  Ojiisan, Princess Mitsouko, and Danshi. Danshi had another name but it didn’t suit him and so I re-named him.  Ojiisan and Princess both needed some pruning and tidying up. Danshi needed a bit of encouragement.  He is young and a bit spindly. I had shaped and gently wired his trunk but it seemed to go hard on him.  He is better now and looks better. Doing bonsai work early in the morning with only the sound of birds going about their business is a lovely bit of calm and peace in the busyness of my life. When through, I went back into the house and prepared breakfast.  Pancakes made with fresh blueberries and a warm, fresh peach jam/syrup to top them.  Heaven!

Later in the morning, I went to a friend’s farm and rode on the tailgate of an old, faded blue Ford pickup to the fields. Bumpety bump over ruts and some rows. I was transported back to childhood when this was such a treat from city life. I laughed and wagged my legs – bumpety bump bump!

At the first field, we pulled armloads of fresh sweet corn. Next field, we picked pink eye purple hull peas – similar to blackeye peas but sweeter and not as starchy.  Back to the house – bumpety bump.  We loaded the produce into my car – some would be for supper, the other would be fixed and put up in the freezer against the time of winter.  On a cold rainy day, nothing beats eating vegetables that taste of summer.

East meets South – pruning bonsai and then picking vegetables under a clear blue southern sky. Silent in the field, grabbing an ear of corn and hearng the twist as it is released from the stalk. Walking barefoot in warm sandy soil and picking peas. Occassionally splitting one and chewing the crunchy sweet morsels. In an adjoining field of sunflowers, goldfinches, blue birds, sparrows dived and swooped among the flowers or perched and ate seeds.

How magnificent and amazing are the works of God – sun, soil, birds, vegetables – eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell fresh corn. Thank you God for your goodness to me. May I never cease to magnify Your name and give glory to You!

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