Fireflies: Reflections: Remember When         

Nov 4, 2012

Reflections: Remember When

The Relatives Came
by Cynthia Rylant
There's something about Thanksgiving that turns my thoughts back in time. I loved when everyone came to our house.  Relatives descended from every direction: North Dakota, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota... cars were parked in our alley and all over the back yard. Mom's kitchen became a flurry of activity with her and all the aunties baking and shooing us kids out of the way. But we knew which aunt would give tastes and samples. Oh! The joy of playing with cousins we hadn't seen in "forever"!  After a day of tag, bike riding, tree climbing, hide and seek, we still were able to whisper and giggle in sleeping bags downstairs long after we'd been told to "quiet down and get to sleep"! How could we sleep when our cousins wanted to hear about how we'd found a nest of robins in our treehouse or we needed to know how all their horses were doing on their farm?  Our shared stories lasted long into the night.

One of my dearest memories came when I was allowed to help mom and my dear aunties in the kitchen. With an apron tied around my chest, standing on a chair, wooden spoon in hand, I was given the task of stirring the pudding mixture for the chocolate pie.  As I did so, I glanced around the kitchen and even at my young age realized that much more was happening than cooking. Why, my mama and my aunties were doing just what we kids did-they were sharing stories! They were laughing, reminiscing about past experiences, some of them from years ago. Almost every sentence began with "Remember when..."  

Before we ate Thanksgiving dinner, we all bowed our heads for prayer. As we shared our wonderful meal (except for the giblets in the gravy!), the phrase "Remember when" was again heard over and over. We kids learned about the Thanksgivings our parents had spent apart during WWII, about their childhood Thanksgivings of having to catch wild turkeys, then pick all the feathers off and prepare it for dinner. As a little boy my dad had been chased around the farmyard by an angry turkey - that made us all laugh! After much story telling, the pies were served and I knew my daddy would choose the chocolate -partly because it was his favorite and partly because I  had stirred it.

To this day, Thanksgiving is not only a day of feasting and giving thanks, but for drawing close... making memories...telling stories! Don't lose the heritage of what has made your family what it is. ALL the "remember whens" that belong to your family need to be spoken and passed down.  Because, you see, for me no parents are left and only two of my aunts remain. And one of them has little memory anymore. So I shall gently be telling her stories of her past in the hope that perhaps she'll "remember when" she gave me sneak tastes in the kitchen.  Hmm, I don't think my family knows about grandpa being chased by the turkey. 

I think it's time to get the grandkids in their aprons and find my chocolate pie recipe...
Mary Byrne Kline

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At November 5, 2012 at 9:11 PM , Blogger SOC Admin said...

I remember Mary! Thanks for sharing.


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