Once upon a time, everyone on my mom's side of the family gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving. As a little girl, it was my favorite time of the year. My uncle would pull out is tractor, hook up the wagon, and pull all my cousins around the house. My brother and I would play football out in the front yard with our older cousins. I can remember being tackled and tossed around wishing that the day would never end. Family meant everything to me. We'd play outside for hours until the adults called us inside to ask a blessing and join in our family's traditional Thanksgiving feast.
My Papa made the best smoked turkey, the kind that melts in your mouth and warms your stomach. He'd slave hours the night before as that turkey tenderized into a mouthwatering piece of meat filled with love. My cousin, Caleb always got the turkey leg, along with a picture of him stuffing his face. We'd have thick home-made mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, dressing (made by Papa as well), rolls, Macaroni,etc... My great grandmother, Nanny, would make a scrumptious Pecan pie; the adults enjoyed it with a cup of caffeinated coffee. After everyone ate, my mom along with her brother and two sisters would sit around and talk for hours. My younger cousins napped, and the rest of us would veg on the couch watching whatever football team happened to be playing. That was our Thanksgiving... our Thanksgiving with family.
I hated the thought of going home. Every time we backed out of the driveway, tears streamed down my face. I knew as time passed life would change, Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same, and those family gatherings would become distant memories.
It seemed like forever before I learned to accept that our family had grown apart. After Nanny and Papa passed away, Thanksgiving was spent with Dad's mom and step-dad or at home (just the four of us). My older cousins were now on their own; some married, one joined the navy, and the other began his life in college. My aunts and uncles spent Thanksgiving with their spouse's family, and the traditional Thanksgiving became history.
Now all of this sounds pretty depressing, right? You are probably wondering where the "Thank you dear God" comes in...
Well, Thanksgiving is being thankful (like you didn't know that lol). God taught me that no matter how unfair life may seem; there is always something to be thankful for. So here is a shortened list of blessings I am thankful for:
1) My family!
2) The memories of past Thanksgivings!
3) The smoked turkey my Papa made!
4) The turkey my Daddy orders for Thanksgiving now (because he can't get his to taste like Papa's, not to mention it takes forever to smoke one)!
5) My life, and those in it!
6) Our heavenly Father who loves, listens, and never leaves us!
Don't forget to be thankful and count your blessings!
The Bible says:
"Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills..." Genesis 49:26
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26