It’s that time of year again. As distant as it looked in the bygone days of summer, Thanksgiving is here. Thanksgiving is a day with a lot of memories for me.
Growing up with divorced parents did have one advantage, if you can call it that — every holiday was doubled. When I was little, Thanksgiving day meant the opening day of rabbit season. Daddy would come to mama’s to get me early in the morning with the beagles already loaded in the truck and barking up a storm. Then we’d go meet whichever cousins were going to hunt with us that day.
It wasn’t easy going. Rabbits don’t live out in the open and getting to their houses almost always means dealing with briars. My fat little legs in their blue jeans didn’t do much to bust through briars like daddy’s special overalls with the tough canvas on the legs, so I usually stayed to the outside of the patched and walked in the clear spots. According to daddy, it didn’t really matter if we got any rabbits as long as the dogs got to run.
We’d hunt till around 11:00 and daddy would take me back to mama’s where I’d get cleaned up, change clothes, and we’d go to whichever relative invited us for Thanksgiving lunch. We’d get home and I’d take a nap until daddy picked me up again at 6:00 and we’d go to Granny Wham’s for supper. Granny always made a little pan of dressing with no onions in it because I didn’t like onions and she spoiled me.
Things went on that way for years, until I became a teenager and the boys were getting older. Then I had a girlfriend and she wanted to eat with her family and bring me along. I still went hunting and most of the time they would have Thanksgiving lunch so we’d eat there at lunchtime and at Granny’s that evening. This didn’t sit well with me because it left mama out.
What eventually evolved is Granny moved her Thanksgiving dinner to the Sunday after. Mama started cooking a small lunch and if I had a girlfriend at the time we go there for supper. Daddy and Teresa and Nick would go to Teresa’s mother’s Thanksgiving day and Cathy and her family would go to Uncle Larry’s sister’s house then we’d all meet at Granny’s on Sunday.
Then people started dying. Mama is gone now these eight years and I miss Thanksgiving day with her, especially after Budge and I married and we spent the days with her getting ready for our guests. Granny had been gone longer than Mama, but now Teresa hosts the Sunday after and everybody brings something to help out. This year Budge is making deviled eggs which is weird because she has never made them and doesn’t eat them.
It’s just Budge and me on Thanksgiving day now that mama is gone. The last several years we went down to Laura’s house and ate lunch with her and her family. We were like family too I suppose. COVID killed that meal last year and since I haven’t heard anything from Laura, I guess we aren’t gathering there again this year.
So, this year Budge and I are going to get up and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is about her favorite thing about the day. Once Santa rides past Macy’s, we’re going to eat turkey at Cracker Barrel. Then we’re going on a ride while listening to Alice’s Restaurant on WROQ 101.1. They play the twenty minute long song every Thanksgiving at noon and it’s become a tradition to listen to it. We used to listen to it on the way to Laura’s. After our ride we’ll head home for a nap then we’re going to see Ghostbusters at 6:30. If we’re hungry, we’ll eat supper at the new Waffle House just up the road and we’ll call it a day.
I like Thanksgiving, don’t get me wrong. I like eating and it’s by far the best time to eat, but it’s also the time of year that highlights all the empty chairs at the tables now. I miss the dinners of my childhood. I miss Mama, Ima and Papa John, and Granny and Papa Wham. I’m thankful though and blessed that I still have my Budge through the holidays. She means the world to me.
So happy Thanksgiving! Hope it’s a great day for all of you. Love y’all, and keep your feet clean!