To many people, Thanksgiving is just an impediment to get over so they can begin their Christmas shopping. In my opinion, this is doing a dis-service to one of our most cherished American holidays. Pushing this holiday, the first and most important “pot-luck” dinner ever held, to the back-burner is unconscionable. It’s like throwing our heritage and tradition to the wind.
Giving over to “Black Friday”, the busiest shopping day of the year, is not an option for me. I prefer to spend that day savoring the relish of a house filled with the warmth of family, delicious left-overs, and just doing nothing. Let the most stalwart of shoppers get up before dawn and wait in the dark and cold to get to the bargains. I’m sleeping in.
Remembering Thanksgivings past evokes the memory of my family traveling to Corbin on the old 25-W highway to get to Mama’s house for the big family dinner. Driving the winding road between LaFollette and Jellico, we always came to a place, where, on the side of the road, two or three young children were selling holly and mistletoe. They would be standing around an open fire, shabbily bundled up in coats, mittens and toboggins since the weather was usually bitter cold.
I always insisted upon stopping to buy several armsful of the greenery for Christmas decorating later. As I handed over the 50 cents or dollar to the children, I envisioned their hard life and resilience in the face of their meager circumstances, and I would think, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” And tears would come to my eyes as I thought about them and the future they faced.
Upon entering my mother’s house, we were bombarded with the aroma of sage and cinnamon and other good smells coming from the kitchen. We never had turkey since it was not the meat of choice in those days. Instead, Mama had a big fat stewing hen that had enough fat for making the rich broth for her lighter-than-air dumplings. Cornbread dressing–not the Pepperidge farm stuffing mix–made up the Holy Trinity of the three. A feast of other hidden delights awaited us and our mouths watered in anticipation.
In those days, families sitting down to dinner looked like a Norman Rockwell painting. God was in His Heaven and all was right with the world. What say we keep it that way, folks. This year, let us put the Thanks back into Thanksgiving. And enjoy the holiday, everybody.
If you still lack a side dish for your Thanksgiving meal, this one is quick and easy.
Jiffy Corn Casserole
1 can whole kernel yellow corn, undrained
1 can cream style yellow corn
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 stick butter, melted
Mix all together and pour into large, lightly oiled casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes.