Last Friday, my family gathered around this table for an early Thanksgiving – to honor the memory and celebrate the birthday of my mama’s mother – my Grandmother. She’s been gone from this earth for many years now – 16, I think? So hard to believe. But we all still miss her sweet, gentle spirit, her quick laugh, and her delicious cooking (among numerous other things). How I hate that Jeremy never got to meet her!
My grandmother was an excellent Christian woman, a warm, soft-spoken, and very kind lady…a true First Lady of Freed-Hardeman University for many years. One could not dare to dream up a better grandmother – she, along with my Grandaddy, always took great care of our family, buying gifts we would each truly enjoy, cooking things specifically for a certain set of tastebuds. She always made sure to have macaroni and cheese on hand for Bennett, our picky eater. She always baked apricot turnovers (a recipe that’s certainly an act of love) for my cousin Nick when he was here – and she always sent the requisite pigs-in-a-blanket back home with these Arkansas grandkids. I’m pretty sure they never lasted even halfway back to Hot Springs. 😉
My grandmother was an incredible hostess – so organized, so busy. She was forever ready for visitors and excited for a party. Especially at Christmas. I remember the embroidered red Christmas placemats and the tabletop ceramic Christmas trees. I remember the bustle of her kitchen, now our kitchen, because we now live in my grandparents’ house. Every year we try wrap our white porch columns with red ribbon…it makes me feel so at home to remember my grandparents’ house looking just so this time every year.
With a definite fondness, I can stand in any room in our home and “see” memories playing out. I can see the family gathering around the kitchen or dining room tables – visiting and telling stories and laughing way after the food was long gone. My grandmother created those occasions. And we loved her for it. Now it’s all up to us. So we continue to celebrate family birthdays with “surprise” parties and get together any other time we can. Because the tradition was established years ago and because we truly enjoy each other’s company. And I know my grandmother would be so joyously pleased.
Last Friday’s family get-together featured my grandmother’s Blue Danube china stacked atop our cobalt, silver, and white wedding china. We used the smaller plates for dessert and the bottom plates for dinner.
I adore blue and orange together, so I feel like blue and white china is the perfect addition to the orange, golds, and coppers of fall. I made my own (super easy) napkin rings (took about 15 minutes – I’ll tell you about it later in the week) out of blue velvet ribbon. And then for extra touches of blue, I tucked bits of the velvet ribbon into the centerpiece to tie it all together.
We created the menu based on some of my grandmother’s favorite recipes: pork chops and rice with white gravy, hominy casserole, green beans, roasted butternut squash, baked sweet potatoes, no rise rolls, fresh apple cake, and a glorious thing called “cake and sauce.” Which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. 😉 Yes, the whole menu was carbalicious! Ha! But it brought back so many good memories. And my Grandaddy noted more than once that Grandmother would have so enjoyed the whole celebration. =) A very high compliment indeed.
So I’ll encourage you, dear reader, to celebrate those in your own family who have shaped and breathed life into what your family is today. Make their recipes, pull out their pictures, use their china…sit around the table and tell their stories. And remember to approach God with a thankful heart for allowing your family to enjoy such a special person for as long as you did. And realize He’s letting you still enjoy them as sweet memories, crystallized in time.
I hope your own Thanksgiving table is beautiful and special, laden with delicious food and sparkling with happy conversation, easy laughter, and lovely memories. Enjoy the season, mango friends! We’re so thankful for YOU! In appreciation, we’d love to gift you a lovely seasonal iPhone wallpaper to celebrate the autumn loveliness. Sign up below to download!
Need more Thanksgiving inspiration?? Follow The Southern Blog Collective’s Thanksgiving Blog Hop – A Gracious Thanksgiving:
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