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Every day is Thanksgiving

Well, another Thanksgiving has passed. We’ve all eaten enough turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce and pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies to last us until Christmas. We’ve cooked, watched football, told jokes, played games, plugged in a movie or two, laughed, and played with babies who – in some of our cases – are now our babies’ babies, Plus, we’ve also been able to catch up on old times with old relatives we haven’t seen since their hair turned bright red. You understand. We did it all, and it did us good way down inside. But now it’s over. Well – on second thought – maybe not.

After much deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that Thanksgiving is never over. It keeps on coming, even when that Turkey-themed Thursday has faded like the golden and orange leaves outside. Thanksgiving just can’t end. How can we look around every day without appreciating the treasures around us – such as, in my case, a 6-year-old grandbaby blessing with a wild imagination and his 3-year-old dramatic sister, and much more. And you have a hundred of your own. But even if we run up on some hard times, we don’t have to look far to offer thanks. Mainly, just look back a ways, and you’ll find a reason or two to hit your knees.            

I don’t know exactly why, but I when I close my eyes after that big Thanksgiving feast, my dreams always drift away to a simpler time. My mind goes to a modest wood-frame house at 901 Juniper. We learned a hundred times more in the years in that old house than we’ll learn the rest of our time. We lived there from my first memory until that autumn day in 1973 when my red Chevy Nova and I pulled out on the Roanoke Road to head west. I didn’t realize it at the time, but everything – not just the house – was modest back then. We never drove a car that wasn’t built three or four presidents ago. You might have even called us poor, but we weren’t. We had a surplus of gold and silver all around us, so much so that good folks who lived in some of LaGrange’s fancy three-story mansions with a hundred pines in the front yard might consider themselves paupers in comparison. Nobody in LaGrange ever had a Sunday afternoon feast like we had every Sunday at Grandma’s: fried chicken and macaroni and cheese – I mean, the real kind – fresh beans and corn and tomatoes, probably picked the day before from Coca-Cola Mike’s parent’s garden or some other church member.

There was always hot cornbread and buttermilk, mashed potatoes made-from-scratch, hot apple pie or a red velvet cake for dessert. We’re not talking about the kind that you pick up down at the Winn Dixie, either. You know better than that. Winn Dixie would’ve rolled their shopping cart down to Truitt Avenue if they knew what Grandma was cooking up in her kitchen. Every Sunday afternoon was Thanksgiving Day at Grandma’s. I may exaggerate from time to time – or, so they say – but anybody who was ever there knows that’s no exaggeration. Just ask my family, or anybody who’s ever gone to church at Murphy Avenue Church of Christ between 1930 and 2003.

And if you can’t ask any of those folks, just ask me. You know I’ll tell you the truth. Looking back after all of these years, I now realize Grandma taught us something more than how to enjoy a great feast and fellowship on those Sunday afternoons. She taught us that every day really is Thanksgiving.