Thanksgiving Memories - The Ribbon in My Journal

Childhood Thanksgiving Fondly Remembered

Phyllis Lifestyle 18 Comments

Thanksgiving was a big holiday when I was growing up, and it still is today! Some things never change. When I was a little girl, we always went to our grandparents’ homes for Thanksgiving. The ride through the country was magical, and the autumn leaves were picturesque. When we arrived, we knew we had two wonderful family gatherings waiting—one with my mom’s family and one with my dad’s family. Both involved eating extraordinary foods prepared by the women in the family.

My mom’s parents had this enormous front porch where we girl cousins gathered to swap stories of our current loves, school events, and plans for Christmas. We finished everything on our plates and returned to the porch to enjoy the afternoon—and a little dessert, of course. My grandmother made the best pies.

My dad’s parents served Thanksgiving supper at their farmhouse. We gathered around the table to enjoy the incredible food. I loved Grandmother Norton’s dressing, but my all-time favorite was her icebox fruitcake made with graham crackers and fruit. I still have her handwritten recipe today that calls for a “batch of pecans” and a “jar of cherries” as well as other ingredients.

By the end of the day, we were beyond stuffed and had wonderful times at both meals. These memories last forever, and I will cherish them always.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories?

Taste of the South November 2015 cover

Comments 18

  1. Until the sadness of breaking up a home, our large family gathered at my brother’s farm house for Thanksgiving dinner. And we all brought our specialties to accompany my sister-in-law’s delectable scalloped potatoes and roast turkey. One fun memory is of the centerpiece made up of fruits and nuts. No one was allowed to touch those grapes until after dinner —- but of course, we all tried to sneak one from underneath, where it wouldn’t be noticed. Because we all sing a lot, we gathered around the piano and joined to sing “Bless This House”. And my very favorite memory is of our six-year-old son marching through the dining room with his plate of dinner consisting of pumpkin pie and an olive stuck on the end of each finger.

  2. My most beautiful memories are sitting around our family table chit chatting and laughing and eating wonderful food! Each member had their own specialty and we all shared… The most important of all, we were all together!

  3. Wonderful Thanksgiving memories…gathered around the table at our Granddaddy Divine’s house. There was always the first…the giving of Thanks to God…and then eating the meal prepared by my Mom and my Aunts & Aunts-in-Law because my Grandma had gone on to be with the Lord way before I was born. There were always lots of things to do on Granddaddy’s farm and we cousins would be outside most of the time…no matter what the weather. I can remember one of the things we did many Thanksgivings was to rake the leaves from the two huge trees that were close to the house…well, they seemed huge at the time. We’d rake those colorful leaves into huge leaf piles and then go running and jumping in them. There wasn’t any TV so the guys would often go rabbit hunting and we girls would sometimes go, too! We cousins are still close today even though we aren’t able to get together at the holidays anymore because we all have our own families but the ties are so special from our childhood. I want our young ones to have the same memories that we have. Blessings to all for another special, memory-making Thanksgiving this year…so THANKFUL for the goodness of God and the blessings that He has given us through His love and the beauty of His handiwork.

  4. Phyllis:
    THANKSgiving was a part of all our celebrations. All I thought about during my first semester In college was my mother’s turkey and dressing and her wonderful pies. My Thanksgiving memories center around being at my parents home. Mother grew the most beautiful pumpkins and gourds anyone could imagine. She made a pumpkin chiffon pie that was heavenly made from fresh pumpkin. Her sweet potatoe souffle looks like the one pictured except in a deeper bowl. This will be my first Thanksgiving without Mother. I praise God for all she did to make every detail so special. One Thanksgiving she gave my brother, my nephew, my daughter and me each one of her handmade quilts. Treasures. l thank God for all she is and will always be to all who knew her. Thanks to Hoffman Media I was able to show her many beautiful pumpkins during her last month, a reminder of her years of growing pumpkins. Thanks Phyllis.

  5. I love love love the holidays!!!

    Those memories of when I was little! I so remember and the smell of grandma and mom cooking the turkey and dressing….now I know my children and grandchildren gather and love love love the smells, food and laughter too!!

    This is truly “the most wonderful time of the year”..::: Thanksgiving followed by Christmas. Blessings all!!

  6. My Mom would wake up around 4am or so to start cooking the turkey and go back to bed for awhile. She would want to eat early on thanksgiving. So, Thanksgiving morning you would awake to the wonderful smells of Thansgiving. So now when I smell the turkey it reminds me of Thanksgiving morning.

  7. We had lunch at Daddy’s parents. Grandmother always had turkey, dressing and all the trimmings. Her specialty for Thanksgiving was ambrosia.Their house was small so we sat bunched up around the dining room table. Granddaddy would say the blessing and then we ate and ate some more. The females cleaned up while the males watched football on TV. I never wanted to leave.

  8. We celebrate two Thanksgivings. I am Canadian so we always had a big meal with everyone in October. My mom’s stuffing was the best and nobody can replicate it. It lives on in our memories!! My paternal grandmother was American, so I would have a smaller celebration in November in her honour and memory. I can’t think of any holiday that brings out such love, togetherness and of course, gratitude. I love it!

  9. I also had two Thanksgiving meals and my grandmothers’ homes during childhood and beyond, and both included a “kids’ table” where we cousins were more than happy to sit. Nothing like grandma’s house, even though each of my grandmothers were unique and different one from the other. Both women added to my life in various ways helping to shape me into a well-rounded person stuffed full of their rich love. Someday…maybe I will get to be “grandma” with grandchildren – and their parents – gathered round my table.

  10. Oh Honey!!! Would you share that fruit cake recipe?!?!?! My grandmother made it and left no recipe behind. My Dad tries to replicate it but it’s not quite right

    1. Donna, this is my grandmother’s recipe- which is in her handwritting. I haven’t tried to make it and I’m not sure I totally understand the directions! Hope it turns out well for you!

      1 lb box of graham crackers
      1 pkg dates (chopped)
      1 lb marshmallows
      1 cup raisins
      1/2 cup fruitcake cherries (cut)
      1 can sweetened condensed milk
      1 cup nuts

      Crush graham crackers fine. Reserve 1/2 of one pkg. Moisten marshmallows with 3 T milk. Put together in layers with condensed milk. Mix well. Divide into 4 parts. Press together and shape into rolls by rolling in cracker crumbs. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate.

  11. Thank you for relaying your sweet memories. All my seniors are gone. I had many —-a big family. My memories are rich indeed.
    Happy holidays to you and yours.

  12. My mom and her sister took turns hosting Thanksgiving. The cousins loved playing together and my two older brothers gathered us to go down in my aunt’s fruit cellar. It was dark with one bare bulb light which was promptly turned off after all 9 of us squeezed in like the canned veggies in the mason jars surrounding us. The younger cousins sat and listened while the older cousins scared the beejeebies out of us telling ghost stories! Great memories that we share and on which we reminisce. Eucharisteo!

  13. I loved those Thanksgivings! The best! Also remember all the uncles watching football games & telling us to “move” from in front of the TV! Would love some of granma’s chocolate pie!

  14. Oh Phyllis, remember how Mammaw would stand and fry potatoes that we would eat as soon as they were out of the grease. Remember all those pictures on the sofa. Remember when we started to make Christmas ornaments for the trees that we would put on our trees after we were married. Remember how we, the kids, got to eat first and the adults had the second seating. I think that was at Mammaw’s insistence. Remember how there was ALWAYS enough food. I think I enjoyed being with the cousins most of all.

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