Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Reflection


This mirrored cabinet once hung on the wall outside my grandmother’s kitchen door, where you see it in the photo.

I love this picture, which I took about a year and a half ago, because of the way the mirror reflects the window facing it. And of course the window looks out onto the yard.

And so by looking in one direction, into the mirror, you can actually get a glimpse of life in the opposite direction, the light coming in the window.

It fits my Thanksgiving experience this year.

Last night as I cooked cornbread dressing and eggplant casserole--using Grandmother’s recipes, her measuring spoons and pyrex 2-cup measurer, her wooden spoon, her cast iron cornbread mold—I was looking toward the meal for today. Looking forward to seeing family, eating together, playing guitar and piano and singing together, watching eight little cousins deepen their ties with one another.

And as the aromas filled the house, I was suddenly looking in the opposite direction. Hearing Aunt Dorothy ask Grandmother, “Do you think we need to turn the oven up for the dressing? Everything else is about ready.”

When I realized there wasn’t room in our refrigerator to hold everything, my mind pulled up images of going out to Grandmother’s car trunk to get boiled custard or dressing that wouldn’t fit in either of her two refrigerators. So I checked the forecast for the night, and decided we could leave our dishes out in our garage, where they spent the night.

Memories galore returned last night. They say that scent is the sense most closely connected to memory, and I believe it.

And today, watching young Jonathan and Daniel hug each other tightly, or older Emily agree to sit at the table with the really “little kids,” I remembered playing with my similar-aged cousins at Grandmother’s house, and later sitting in the kitchen with the younger batch, even though I was really too old to be in there.

And I knew that someday those little children would sing in each other’s weddings, listen to each other’s stories, look back on these days the way I look back on our visits with cousins.

Past, present, future. We think of them as separate pieces of life, but they’re really not, are they? They are all just different parts of one long story.

I’m thankful to have a part in this story.

Here’s to Thanksgiving—past, present, and future.

5 comments:

Sheila said...

Thanks to my sister Lisa, who answered the phone when I couldn't remember the name for boiled custard. (It may be all one story, but I think my memory was better back in the earlier chapters!)

Lawrence Underwood said...

Man, you yanked my heart strings around with that post. Curioiusly, yesterday was a day very much the same for me. Is it not amazing how precious memories are, and how much more precious they become with time. We are so blessed with the family and extended family in which God graciously placed us.

Carolinagirl said...

The Holidays can be special like that. I thought yesterday while I was cooking that I really should have asked my Grandmother for her cornbread stuffing recipe way back when. Whenever I ask my other Grandma for recipes, she just says all you do is add a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Today was memory lane for me as I put up my 7' Christmas tree. I hadn't put it up since being in NY as I have always gone to MO for Christmas. I won't do so this year so decided to go through the work of putting it up. Memory lane came as I began hanging the ornaments. Each one tells a story of where it was bought and when. I didn't begin collecting ornaments until 1992, but I do have a very special one given to me by my Grandmother when I was little. I've posted a few pictures if anyone's interested.

Enjoy the rest of your Holiday weekend.

Lisa said...

Once again, amen and amen.

I'm looking forward to the day when we can all be in the same place again.

By the way, have you ever stopped to think about how young Mama and Daddy and Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Jerry were back then? It's hard to believe that we are now the ages they were when all those memories were made.

Sheila said...

I actually try hard not to think about that, Lisa. No reminders needed!