We are just one week away folks! It is amazing how fast this time of year goes by. I try to make myself slow down and appreciate this Thanksgiving holiday before just jumping straight to the Christmas hustle and bustle. Thanksgiving is a time when we gather with friends or family and we count our blessings. It can also be a difficult time of year for some. Whether this is your first Thanksgiving without a certain loved one, or it is just hard to think of anything to be thankful for, I hope that these little stories/memories of mine will make you smile or laugh. Here are a few of my Thanksgiving memories…
My grandparents on my mom’s side have a farm in north central Florida. I am a fifth generation Floridian (did you even know such a thing existed?). My little family of four would always go to my grandparents for Thanksgiving. The drive out to the farm is pretty memorable just in itself. You go from lots of traffic lights, to one or two stop signs, to just open road. My grandmother would stay awake all night before Thanksgiving doing all the cooking herself in her double wall ovens. And she could put on quite a spread. We are talking a huge turkey (sometime a ham too), dressing, gravy (giblet gravy), macaroni & cheese, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, potato salad, deviled eggs (which my brother would eat about half a dozen of before dinner was served), congealed salad (not my favorite but it is pretty), pecan pie, pumpkin pie, spinach dip, and I’m sure I’m missing some things. The big round farm table would be crowded. We would all gather around and my country grandpa, all 5’3” of his small but mighty self, would ask the blessing. (Side note: My grandfather never went to college even though he worked as an electrician at the University of Florida for over 30 years. He liked to joke that he went to UF for 30 years and never got a degree.) He would bow his head, close his eyes, and let loose the most epic prayer. All in old English dialect that would make King James himself smile. It would start, “Bless thou this food that we are about to partake…” and I can’t even replicate the rest because I am not fluent in that language but it was beautiful.
Here are a few photos of farm life on the Phillips ranch. This is also one of the few photos of my grandpa, he does not like his picture taken…
I lived overseas in Guam for a few years in my twenties. There were a few families that would gather for a “Friendsgiving” on the naval base. I had never really cooked anything in my whole life. What I didn’t tell you about my grandmother is that she didn’t want anyone to know her recipes or even be in her kitchen while she was cooking. So I had no idea how to do anything. And this was before Pinterest. I volunteered to make green bean casserole for the dinner. I went to the commissary and got the ingredients off the back of the French fried onion package. I was worried because it only calls for like 4 things and that couldn’t be right. But I made it anyway and it was delicious! I was a star with my other 20 something friends and I thought it was a Thanksgiving miracle!
Here is a more recent green bean casserole that is my go to favorite now (even though the four ingredient number will still get the job done!)
Click Here For Recipe
Since being married, we go to my husband’s family’s home for Thanksgiving lunch. They have a huge family and it is just an amazing setting. What you would picture in a magazine. Lots of kids running around, football playing in the background, chilly weather (they live in Indiana) and just all the amazing family feels that you want around this holiday. My dog that I got in Guam has been my companion for over a decade and she is included in most everything I do. She is a golden retriever and is the sweetest thing since southern sweet tea. I brought her along one year. My husband’s dad wanted to give her a treat and to my shocking surprise it was the ham bone. This thing was huge and my dog had never had such a thing before (I know I have made her prissy). Well he put her on the porch with that thing and about an hour later I went to get her and the whole ham bone was GONE! Is that possible? How? To this day, I just tell myself that it is buried somewhere in the backyard.
Here is a photo of my sweetheart, Ali.
These are just silly small snippets of memories that are special to me. I try to make every day count, every memory special even if it’s a little ridiculous. Make this Thanksgiving yours to be thankful for wherever you are in life. This is just a season, it can be a wonderful season or a difficult one but keep in mind that the seasons always change. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!