Monday, December 12, 2011 10:42 PM
When Christmas seemed to have more meaning. That holiday season kind of meaning. Everyone in a good mood, for no particular reason. Mom and Dad working together for the family. Let's see...we will go to my grandmother's house whatever day the kinfolks come to town and work the rest in as it happens. I loved my grandmother."Mama" we all called her. Lived to be 99--what an inspiration. Never complained. Always glad to see everyone. All those old stories resurfacing, again. The food. That's what it is all about. Turkey, dressing, yams, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, fresh rolls, iced tea. And dessert. Pies of all kinds: several pecan pies, lemon chess, chocolate, coconut, mince meat, pumpkin... And other snacks: fudge, chocolate chip cookies, peanut brittle, and divinity. Did I forget anything? probably...
Christmas at my parents house on Christmas Eve. As a kid, the presents were few, but meaningful. There would always be some kind of kid toy I wanted, and didnt really expect, but it was always there. And when the presents ran out, there was always one more for the little kid that came out of hiding, me for many years, until another little kid took my place. That last present would give me tears, knowing we didnt really have enough money for that one extra present.
My generation grew up and had our own kids, as the old ones passed on: my dad, my grandmother "Mama," and all those who I now wish were there again to bring their specialty food and big smiles for the occasion. Christmas and a family reunion all in one.
Had my own kids, same thing, work in all the traveling to each others' houses to see each side of the family. Christmas morning. My kids faces, bright and shiney and ready to dive in all the presents. The family dwindled, almost down to nothing compared to... I miss my Aunt Vieta's mince meat pie, amd Mama's pecan pie, And now Mom is too old and frail to fix those little extras like divinity.
I miss them all: Uncles: Chuck, Jud, Cecil, Charlie, Ira... Aunts: Vieta, Evelyn, Thelma, Vivian... Several of my generation now gone, and I am the youngest of 16 of that generation. My dad, Forrest, and Mama (Birdie) I miss the most, though I carry them inside.
The divorce separated me from Christmas more than expected. The kids grew up, moved away. Last year it was just me and Mom, like this year at Thanksgiving. No decorations anymore. They are boxed up, unused.
My son coming to town. He wants to see his grandmother, Memaw to him. The once bright family eyes of the past, having been dimmed for several years, flickered at the thought of... One phone call led to another, Looks like 15 at last count. Two pecan pies, one pumpkin, and one mince meat coming to the party so far. And I have the chore of cooking the ham and turkey and dressing, well actually it will be my 89 year old Mom telling me what to do. She's a little frail these days, but wants to see everyone just in case it it her last time.
I dont know how to cook, but I do know how to eat. And I really like sharing those old stories, again.
Emma's chicken dumpling the upset stomach and Holiday Memories
When i was little my mama Emma's chicken dumpling soup would stop the bellyaches making the world a better place to be.
I scamper down the basement steps into the large kitchen frantically sifting through the drawer creating a mesh march of mess searching for the biggest ladle to scoop out mama's homemade dumplings swimming around in the rich yellow broth from the fowl. Eating my portion right out the large cooker. This eased all that bother. Mama knew I was busy ripping off all the dumplings leaving just the chicken for everyone else. Sure enough comfort a skinny little pig tailed girl a big know "I'm special!" These are treasured memories loving the bitter and sweet taste of growing up Lydia. I missed those days dancing with dad on his Friday's off, being our personal chef throwing a family party just because. Crank up the stereo throw on King Curtis pour the Johnny Walker Black time to set the table. A Friday night fish fry. I can still smell the food, hear the laughter and music. Even though Holiday's were hectic ours was always full of love, patience and understanding the character's that made up this family. . .