Thanksgiving was big in our extended family because their children, grandchildren, and later great grandchildren made their way to Jowers Ten Acres for the day. We filled my parents' home to overflowing. Mama and Daddy had 5 children, 5 daughters-and sons-in-law, 13 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren (several of the greats were born after Daddy passed away).
There are three Thanksgiving Days that stand out. One we almost didn't get to have.
One year sometime in the 90's a hurricane blew through Tallahassee just before Thanksgiving. There was no electricity at the Jowers Ten Acres house. Someone had loaned my parents a small motorhome which meant they had some level of comfort, but they weren't hopeful that our family feast would take place. Just before Thanksgiving Day the phone call came that said the electricity was on and to hit the road. Thanksgiving was back on the schedule. Hooray!
Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2003, brought great sadness to my family. Daddy passed away that afternoon. Our meal was finished and we were about to celebrate his 3rd great grandchild's first birthday when the call from the hospital came. Most of the family was there at Mama and Daddy's that Thanksgiving. All three of my children were there, a rarity in itself. The night before Thanksgiving my sons, Jim and me, visited Daddy in the hospital. Daddy was in rare form telling stories and making us laugh at the funny things he said. Little did we know that was our last time with him.
Thanksgiving Day in 2008 fell on November 27 that year. Except for one grandchild and great grandchild, the entire rest of our family was there - 34 people in all. We all made sure we were there. For the first time since Thanksgiving, 2003, all three of my children were there. It was a good day with lots of laughter. The younger grandchildren enjoyed their time together. The older cousins talked. The greats loved playing outside in the big yard. The usual naps were taken. The food was plenteous and delicious, but none was prepared by the best cook in the family. Mama was not feeling well, cancer taking over her frail body. She seemed to enjoy everyone being there but it was a tiring day for her. This Thanksgiving Day, November 27, five years to the day after Daddy passed away, was Mama's last Thanksgiving. She still had a few more days left, but how wonderful that she had the people she loved most with her on one of her favorite holidays.
Thanksgiving, 2011, will be the first time for some of the family to be together for this holiday. My sister, Kathi, has invited us to her home to celebrate the day set aside to be thankful to God. Not everyone will be there as in years past. Hopefully, it will be a new beginning. We have so much to be thankful for, especially for the parents we had.
Here are some photos from Thanksgiving, 2008, in Tallahassee, Florida:
|Good food and family|
|Mama and Daddy's children|
|Mama and Daddy's grandchildren|
|The older grandchildren|
|The younger grandchildren|
|The great grandchildren|