“My blessings are in front of me. It's not about the land. I'll never beat the view, from my front porch looking in.” – Lonestar
It’s after sunset and my mom just got off of work. She and my dad load up the car with our overnight bag and we make the hour and a half drive to my Grandma and Grandpa Hatfield’s. Yes, those Hatfields. (I, my friends, am a direct descendant from the infamous Hatfields of the Hatfields and McCoys. Oh the stories I could tell…I’ll save those for another time!) Other family members were also sleeping over, so we’d open up the pull out sofa, lay down, and try to go to sleep. In the morning, we woke bright and early from the bustle in the kitchen, which was only a few feet away from the living room. Thanksgiving brought a new spring in our step! Well…we walked with a limp because the dreaded bar in the pull out sofa messed up our back! But, hey – it’s a spring, nonetheless! We ate breakfast, typically cinnamon rolls. Lord knows you need to fuel yourself for all of the eating that’s about to take place on this holiest of turkey days. Around noon, we’d eat the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, egg noodles (it’s a Midwest thing!), sweet corn, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, rolls, and more!
Once we were in that great food comma, and all of the dishes were washed, we grabbed another set of pre-made dishes and made our way over to Great Grandma and Grandpa Eggleston’s house. Their house was always crammed with people. When you walked in, you were greeted with a brass oil lamp. It was intoxicating to watch! Uncle Max was always asleep in the back room in a recliner, where a police scanner was on 24/7. In all the years we went there, I honestly can’t ever remember Uncle Max being awake! Cousin Kevin, a giant and former NFL player, would be laying on the living room floor watching whatever game was on. We’d all thank God for elastic waist pants being in style, and muster up the fake excitement of having Thanksgiving dinner because we were “starving.” Same gigantic spread as the first meal and seconds were encouraged by Great Grandma!
It was at that time, we said goodbye to the Hatfields and Egglestons and departed to our third stop – Grandma and Grandpa Cooper’s. Now, my Grandma Cooper was known as Grandma to EVERYONE in their town. She always had people stopping by to visit. Their house was a hub for entertainment. When you arrived, there was an enclosed porch that you walked through to get to the front door. On that porch there were two very large deep freezers, which on Thanksgiving Day were topped with every single pie you could possibly find. You know all of those recipes on Pinterest for pies? They probably came from my Grandma. No joke, there were at least a dozen pies, not to mention all of those gross “salads”. You know what I’m talking about: macaroni salad, potato salad, jello and marshmallow salad, pistachio salad. A definite, Jimmy Fallon EWW! moment. Once you made it inside to the kitchen, the counters were filled with more side dishes. On to the dining room, that held an extra-long dining room table with multiple leaves inserted. This table was completely swarmed with every food you could possibly want for the holidays. The mashed potatoes were in a full pan with two large sticks of butter slowly melting to form a pond. This is where I felt the calling to the medical field and healthy eating. You didn’t actually believe that did you? This is where we dove in, eating Thanksgiving dinner for the “first time that year” and made Grandma and Grandpa feel extra special!
It's not about the food you eat. It’s not about how many times you eat it. Thanksgiving is about making memories. It’s about family. It’s about recognizing your many blessings from a God who loves you! I pray your holiday season kicks off with crazy memories that will last a life time! I cherish mine!
Note: Come meet me and get your holiday shopping underway at Front Porch Pickins Vintage & Handmade Market November 17th & 18th at Turf Paradise in Phoenix! Over 150 vendors selling all things shabby chic, rusty, vintage, farmhouse, mid-century, handcrafted, in addition to the valley’s best food trucks and a classic car show. Learn more at FrontPorchPickins.com.
Desiree' is the executive event producer for Street Market. Her writing is dedicated to all things related to country living, home décor, travel and events, family, faith, and more. Check out her column in Arizona Real Country Magazine.