Source: http://pixadilly.com by George Brown
Having grown up in a small Southern town, I attended an old, elegant elementary school. East Elementary was a two story brick building with a basement. There were beautiful wood floors and lots of tall windows. We had a huge playground and many friendships were formed at recess. However, my favorite part of the building was the auditorium. This is where we gathered for singing.
I felt great anticipation when our teacher said it was time to sing this song:
Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifting snow-o.
Over the river and through the woods, trot fast my dapple-gray.
Spring over the ground like a hunting hound, for this is Thanksgiving Day!
I find myself at the age of 64 humming this song as the holidays approach. As I child, I loved Thanksgiving almost as much as Christmas. My mother was an amazing Southern cook and nothing was better than her turkey and dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes. I try to duplicate it all when I cook. We were a traditional family. The women cooked and cleaned up and the men watched football. Daddy was home from work of course, and that was always special. In the South, Thanksgiving weather was usually warm enough for playing outside and our neighborhood had lots of children. Usually one of the churches had a community service the night before.
One of our sadder times was 1984 when Daddy had been diagnosed with cancer in October and was in the hospital for Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law and I cooked the meal. We did our best but nothing was the same. Daddy died the following July.
Growing older has made me think more deeply about what the holiday means and I am thankful for family, friends, and for every day ahead. I am thankful for my small town childhood and the elementary school that has me still singing.