“Over the river and through the woods,

Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!

Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?

Hurrah for the

pumpkin pie!”

Thanksgiving. Just saying the name of the holiday out loud evokes a feeling of warmth and well-being. A time of togetherness with family and friends and, of course, let’s not forget about the good food.

Johnny Bullard mug

Johnny Bullard

Of all the holidays in the year and I find something unique in each one, Thanksgiving is my very favorite; always has been. I love the fall colors, the fragrance of the house on Thanksgiving Day. I love the Macy’s Day Parade. I just love Thanksgiving…turkey, dressing and especially left-over turkey for sandwiches the next several days.

I asked my readers to share some Thanksgiving memories and I had some wonderful memories shared. Now, I will share those memories with you.

“As a child, I can remember mama and daddy going to the barnyard and daddy would kill a turkey hen for Mama to clean, which meant I would have to help pick out the pinfeathers; a task I did not like!”

“Mama would start preparing the day before Thanksgiving for the big day making cornbread and biscuits to be used in the dressing, bringing in sweet potatoes, preparing pumpkins for the pies and we always had pecan cake. I was very young, but I still had to crack and pick out pecans. There were many side dishes and these were a bounty from our garden. Mama would cook most everything on the old wood stove located on our back porch. The house would always smell so wonderful. Thanksgiving Day arrived as did some company. We always had a table full at Thanksgiving. I am so thankful I have fond memories of Thanksgiving and thankful for my God and my family. I am so blessed.”

“I can remember Mama always made the turkey and dressing, fresh greens and lots of side dishes and the BEST cornbread ever! She made it all with love. She loved having the family together and, after sampling all the wonderful dishes on the table, we were so full to the point of being miserable. I am thankful for those sweet memories and heritage passed down to me by my mother. This Thanksgiving, my beautiful daughters and my daughter-in-law will help me with preparing our family Thanksgiving meal and it’s always a special time of being thankful and being blessed to share another Thanksgiving together with those we love and cherish. We are blessed and privileged each time we gather as a family.”

“My favorite memory of Thanksgiving is from childhood. Growing up next door to my grandparent’s house, I was privy to the activity center, my Grandmother’s kitchen. The excitement built all week, with the expectation of seeing my cousins, aunts, uncles and even out-of-town friends. I think the largest number of Thanksgiving guests ever numbered 67. Grandmother made most of the food with Hattie, our dear friend, an African American lady who was part of our family for many years. Grandmother and Hattie worked all week. Granddaddy and I made many trips to town happily picking up ingredients. The morning of Thanksgiving, Grandmother put the finishing touches on everything and I was excited seeing my favorite dressing go into the oven (her dressing): Granddaddy would sit in one of the kitchen chairs peeling oranges and feeding me a slice, as he prepared the Ambrosia. Then, the crescendo of excitement as everyone arrived. Playing outside with my cousins, watching for the next car to turn into our driveway, tables set up inside and outside under the huge oak tree, all the smells mingling and the smoked meat taken out of the smoke shed; it was a cocoon of happiness. When my Great-Aunt pulled in, I knew she had brought one of Inez Hollingsworth’s ten layer chocolate cakes and that completed the joy! The love and expectancy of sharing this special day with everyone I loved, the warm Florida sunshine and the excitement of seeing those separated by distance is still what I think of as an adult. Thanksgiving was a lot of work, but not nearly the bliss of those feelings of long ago. I remember it as if it were captured in a bottle I could shake and re-play the scene over and over again.”

“I am from Utah. I met my husband who was born and raised in Lake City while living in Kansas. Our first Thanksgiving together I insisted on Stove Top Stuffing. I had no understanding of how important cornbread dressing was to him and his siblings using his mother’s recipe until I had Thanksgiving at his mother’s home and witnessed the almost religious ritual of making the cornbread dressing.”

“Mama always made the best dressing in the world.”

And now, one of my own:

“Thanksgivings of my childhood were either spent at Grandma Bullard’s home on Mill Street or at the home of my maternal grandparents, the late J. Boman and Annie Taylor outside of Live Oak off the Nobles Ferry Road. At either place, Thanksgiving meant great food, lots of laughter and a lot of conversation. When Thanksgiving was spent in Hamilton County, it often meant Daddy and Uncle Warren, my paternal uncle, rising early and deer hunting on the family property until “dinner time,” that’s lunch to you who are more rarified or “not from here.” Sorry I grew up in the country and it was: breakfast, dinner and supper. If we spent Thanksgiving in Suwannee County, it often meant Daddy and our cousin, the late Eugene “Gene” Turman, quail hunting someplace that afternoon.

“Back to Thanksgiving, the Thanksgiving “spread” always included a fresh turkey, usually butchered by our cousins, the late Walter “Kid” and Mae Turman in Suwannee County, fresh greens of one variety or another, Senator Russell Sweet Potato soufflé, acre peas, creamed corn, a huge relish tray with homemade pickles, stuffed celery, olives, dressing (the moist kind, couldn’t stand dry dressing and I can’t bear a dry sandwich either), rice, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, usually ham or a fresh pork roast, venison and plates of deviled eggs, fruitcake, coconut pie, pecan pie, sweet potato pie, ambrosia made with oranges and freshly grated coconut and a little sugar and “melded” over-night and gallons of sweet iced tea and coffee. Southern voices all mingled with laughter. Pinecone turkeys we made as children on the table. A feeling of love and security… That was Thanksgiving. It mattered not if we had 20 or 50 at the house, there was always enough to feed Pharaoh’s army. Great memories of a time not that long ago, spent with those I loved and shall always love as long as memory holds.”

Lawanna Huggins Morgan shared this easy recipe with me — may be great for someone to use on Thanksgiving. Thank you Lawanna.

• • •

Mexican Fruit Cake:

• 2 cups of self-rising flour

• 2 cups of sugar

• 1 can crushed pineapple with juice,

• 2 eggs

• 1 tbsp. of pure vanilla extract

• 1 cup of chopped pecans

• 1 stick of butter or margarine

Mix and bake in a 9 x13 inch pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes

——————

Icing:

• 2 cups of powdered sugar

• 1 stick of margarine melted

• 8 ounces of cream cheese

• 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix and spread on cooled cake.

• • •

From the Eight Mile Still on the Woodpecker Route north of White Springs…. Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a day filled with joy, peace and, above all, lots of love and laughter. So blessed to be in the number “one more time.”

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