Thanksgiving in the Bowl
Did I tell you about the time we had but one bird and thirty-five people
for Thanksgiving? Well, your Aunt Grace decide we gonna be thankful
whether we had anythin' or not. She didn't miss hardly a fambly member,
sayin' to 'em all, "We gonna have Thanksgiving over to our place this
year. Jep and me has been blessed, and we'd be disappointed you didn't
join us." Now in the manner of the times, I guess we had been blessed.
We was still alive, and we managed to scrape somethin' together each
day to keep our souls connected to the bodies.
It was Dust Bowl days, doncha know, and nobody had much a nothin'. We
was much better off 'n many around us, 'cause we had saved a little coin
which I had failed to put in the bank back in '29. Always was a bit
leery them suited guys with they green visors. So anyway, we weren't
total broke, and I gone up to Canon where I was able to get a few
things, couple hunnert weight a cracked corn, hunnert pound a cornmeal,
pinto beans, enough for the whole town. So it looked like beans and
cornbread for some time to come. I'ma thinkin' you was maybe three,
four years old at the time, 'cause your Mama and Daddy come on down for
Anyways, when I left Canon to come on home, I stopped by Arly's over to
Florence and wha'd'ye reckon? Ol' Arly had hisself half-dozen turkeys
he'd been nursin' along. Scrawny they was, too, eatin' what they could
scratch up. Arly give me one a them birds, insisted I have it, so I tuk
hit. Well, I bring that bird home, and glory be! I have all that
cracked corn and two months 'til Thanksgiving. Well, son, I kept that
bird pretty close, pen him up in the ol' tool shed. Yessir. Fed him
good and give him more water than I tuk myself. Well, talk about
surprises! When people start gatherin' in our house on that Thursday
mornin', the aroma like to knock 'em down, hit smell so great. Some a
the fambly had had little enough, and then some, when it come to meat in
Lord only knows when.
Well, your Aunt Grace had kept the winders sheeted over purty good, and
the sugar and flour were kept wrapped tightly and inside half-gallon
Mason jars. Couldn't set out a sugar bowl, nor even keep it in a
cabinet, 'cause even with a lid on hit, the dust would just natural get
inside. Gritty sugar ain't fit'n to use. So Grace had been bustlin'
around two days gettin' fixed for dinner on Thanksgivin'. Now she only
invited people to come, she never ask them to bring anything, but they
all come with they hands full, and those ladies were bringin' the best
they had. Why Marcella Dean, you know Marcella, her'n Larry brought
they six kids along, but Marcella make the best "apple" pie you can
imagine from nothin' more'n pie crust, sody crackers, and vinegar and
sugar. I don't rightly know how she done it.
Anyway, the feast was on, and Grace would have it no other way but that
she would make a little speech afore we et. And she lay it on. She
said as how times had been bad for a long time, and some folk was
gettin' discouraged. Why the whole Palmer tribe, she says, done lit out
for Cally-forny, and if we was all givin' up, wouldn't be nothin' here
no more but tumble-down shacks and rattlesnakes. And wouldn't you know,
like right on cue in a stage play or somethin', Fred Baker speaks up
and says, "Let the snakes have 'er. She ain't no good no more no how."
And Grace let him have it. "That," she says, "is just what I'ma talkin'
'bout. This is Thanksgivin', and y'all need to be thankful. Be
thankful that we are still a makin' it. Be thankful that we have loved
ones who care about us and would give the shirt off'n they back to he'p
ary one of us. Y'all buckle in, keep the faith, he'p one another and
pray, I mean pray like you believe the promises of God, and pray some
more, day and night. We will be okay. Now Darryl, please to offer
thanks to the Good Lord over these vittles, and we'll tuck into 'em!"
So right then and there the prayer meetin' start, but hit warn't so
drawed out thet the food get cold! No sir, we done justice to that
spread, let me tell you. And that bird with the fixin's fed them
thirty-five people plum easy. And the prayin' continue, and behole, the
very next Fall the drought breaks and the rains come. And then, well
we are still here, hain't we?
© 2013 David W. Lacy