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A Thanksgiving Kitchen

An apron… the thought of it instantly conjures up a picture of my mom on Thanksgiving morning, a morning that began very early for her. The Tom Turkey was in the oven before dawn, and her small kitchen was stacked with casserole dishes she took from the deep interiors of the cabinets. The counter tops were lined with unopened Shur Fine cans of green beans and corn. There were boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix ready to be the main feature of my grandmother Farris’ cornbread dressing, and on the stove was my grandmother Daire’s ancient double boiler filled with random amounts of cheese and milk melting for the broccoli and cauliflower casseroles. My dad was somewhere in all that kitchen conundrum, probably grumbling about something, all the while helping (the grumbling just came with the job for him). They did it all; there was no ‘potluck’ except for perhaps a pie or two. We just walked in with small children dressed in corduroys and Chukka boots, diaper bags, and holiday expectations. It was how things were for many years. The air outside was crisp, the road there was filled with mud from the sugarcane fields, and the ground was decorated with fall foliage. Life was all it could be ‘back then’. I know now, what I didn’t know then: what a huge job, a huge labor of love, those days were for my parents. Funny, but you don’t really know anything until you experience it. We only have a certain capacity for sympathy and understanding until ‘it’ happens to us. But, as exhausting as I now know those holiday meals were, I also know they would both be happy that they are still being held in our hearts; they are warm pieces of our memories of them and of home. I share this little bit of something personal, hoping it smooths out some of the anxiety of the coming season and helps us to remember what the fuss is all about and not get sidetracked with all the commercial screams that follow us around and shriek in our ears. All the ‘stuff’ will be forgotten. Celebrate the hugs, the small conversations, and the feeling, knowing that one day, the warmth of the kitchen and a mother’s apron will be what you remember most. Wishing all of you the warmth of Thanksgiving… Pam Shensky Berry Tales November 18, 2023

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