(Throwback, much? This is from 2007 at my uncle’s ordination anniversary party. It was the first summer Alex and I dated. And the summer I took him to Michigan to meet the family. We’re young, huh? And there’s Granny and Uncle Jack. Looking awesome, as usual.)
Thanksgiving reminds me of my Granny. She’s not with us anymore here on earth. But growing up we’d always cart ourselves the 2 hours south to Richmond, Virginia for one of the holidays (sometimes it wasn’t necessarily Thanksgiving; maybe it was Easter or Christmas). And she’d be there at the door to give us a huge hug. And feed us. And, oh, offer us a fresca.
Fresca reminds me of Granny, too. She loved her fresca. And her wine. I suppose maybe we just have a lot in common.
So back to Granny. She isn’t my real, real grandma. She’s my real, real grandma’s sister in law. Which makes her, like, my aunt of some sort. We don’t pay attention to those things in my family. I have aunts and uncles who are probably cousins half removed and taken back a 2nd or 3rd time. It’s all just silly. We’re family. And she’s my Granny.
This is why Thanksgiving reminds me of Granny: Granny loved to throw a party. Oh, boy did she love to entertain. And seeing as this is my first holiday entertaining myself, I’m trying to remember all that she did to make each and every holiday feel special. And here’s what my terribly faint memory can recall:
* Granny always had gifts for us. She loved to shop. Oh, yeah, that’s right… maybe we just have a lot in common. ;)
* Granny always had food for us to munch on before the big meal. Forget spoiling our appetites. Holidays are made for good company and gluttony.
* Granny made sure your glass was always full. For me, this was always fresca.
* Granny decorated every inch of the house. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. But the woman could decorate with such class and beauty. I mean, look at this wreath:
(sidenote #546 for this post: I’m the oldest sibling, I swear. That would be my baby brother and my baby sister. They are just… giants. Mmmmkay?
*A few hours after the big meal, Granny fed us AGAIN. Now, this one may be just my parents feeding us turkey sandwiches, but this is how I remember it.
And here is the biggest reason I remember Granny whenever Thanksgiving comes around:
Many years ago, when we visited for Thanksgiving, the turkey didn’t taste the same. It was maybe a tad bit dry and a tad bit salty. And I remember sitting at the kids table with my cousins (okay, so they are like, 2nd/3rd/removed… I don’t care they are my cousins) and we were all like, “Wow, Granny’s getting old.”
Being a kid is so strange. We have no concept of time. Or age. Or truth. The turkey was probably just fine. But, sure enough, Granny was getting old. We didn’t see her aging year after year when we visited. She was always just our gorgeous Granny. We didn’t notice her slowing down. It took a Thanksgiving dinner before we realized it for ourselves.
So then we started having holiday dinners at the country club. And they were absolutely fabulous but never the same. Then, we got older and busier. We didn’t make it down as often. Then, sooner than we could see it coming, Granny wasn’t doing too well. Then, even sooner, Granny passed away.
This was a few years ago. Around Easter. I think it’s fitting, seeing as she brought the family back together again. And what did we do? Why, of course we had one big party. We ate and we drank and we did just what Granny would have wanted us to do.
So as we near Thanksgiving and the rush of holidays to follow, I think about Granny. We don’t make it down to Richmond much anymore. We sure mean to. We sure want to.
That’s my honest truth about family and the holidays. The whole “we sure mean to, we sure want to” bit. Gosh, it’s difficult to get together. But, nonetheless, in honor of Granny, I’ll be sure to have a case of fresca for the taking on Thursday afternoon.
And, hopefully, the food will be even half as tasty as what her and Uncle Jack would prepare.