We cooked a Thanksgiving feast this week. My uncle came in town (he’s a certified Yankee now) (it’s fine, we mostly still claim him) and he specifically requested a Southern home-cooked meal.
And since we can’t flour and fry things, turkey and dressing it is!
My dad insisted on brining the turkey. That required the cooler second to the bottom from the tower of coolers in the garage. Took two of us to wrestle all of them to pull the square rolling cooler out. My mom felt the need to explain to me why two people own 14 coolers.
“Well, we had to buy the square one because those rectangular coolers can’t hold my deviled egg container. It’s too wide. And we spent years taking deviled eggs to tailgates so I had to have that square cooler.”
I swear, that might just be the most Southern thing my mother has ever said.
My mom purchased a cooler solely because it was the correct size to transport her deviled eggs to a college football tailgate.
A tailgate, you should understand, complete with tents, tables, coordinating fabric tablecloths, chip trays painted like football fields and dip trays in the shape of the football. I grew up spending my Saturdays eating enormous amounts of food, carrying our stadium seats and shakers across campus, and cheering on our team with 80,000 of our closet friends.
Whether or not my brother and I liked football was not really a serious consideration. It was, simply, what we did.
But in case you’re wondering, we do love college football.
Every family has it’s quirks and traditions and oddities. I cooked one of my little family’s favorite meals this week. BBQ meatballs. It’s not something we ever ate growing up. It’s an addition. But I subtracted fried salmon patties so I think it all evens out.
Apart from fried salmon patties, my families quirks and traditions and oddities are delightful.
Reading on our porch swing during Sunday afternoons.
Friday night family dates with hot wings for dinner and Books-a-Million shopping after.
Grabbing buckets of Lee’s fried chicken and biscuits on Sundays and boxes of tacos on Wednesday nights.
Labor Day Father/Daughter Orange Beach weekends in college.
Back to school shopping with Mom at the outlet stores in Boaz, Alabama.
The older I get, the more I value those days and treasure the long, lazy summer days now.
I hope my kids remember our own quirks and traditions and oddities.
Making our thankful lists before prayers.
Getting all the Lunchables they can stand at their Nana and Puddin’s.
Pizza Movie Nights (and sometimes Waffle Movie Nights) on Fridays.
Dollar Tree visits when they can pick out anything they want.
Sticky, sunscreen coated summers at the water park.
Getting wings on special occasions and a Sonic slushy on random Thursdays.
Searching for treasures at thrift stores.
They’ll likely also remember my telling them to clean their rooms every night and might always prefer gluten-free pasta over the regular version. Church small groups and neighborhood ice cream socials. Marching band shows and basketball games and selling PTA chocolate bars at afternoon rehearsals.
My family sat around the other night sharing our first memories as children. We all can recall an event around the ages of four or five. Our kids are eight and almost six. I suspect their first memory has already happened and I pray it’s something good and life-giving and maybe fun. I hope it’s with one of us but it’s possible it could be with a friend. And I hope it’s filled with love wrapped up tightly in their identity as our treasured, much-prayed-for, worth-the-wait miracles.
I am grateful for all the weird things and not so weird things that make up my family.
Grateful for peaches and ice cream.
For fireflies just outside the screened in back porch.
Cousins for who make us giggle and uncles who add a day on their trip to visit just a bit more.
Grateful for soul food lunches and bbq dinners and all the conversation that happens over good food on a big table.
And for coolers the exact right size to hold the world’s greatest deviled eggs.
Grateful to God for the family He gave me here and adopting me into His family for eternity.
What are you grateful for today?