One way to make Thanksgiving memories is to do for others. On Thursday, Rhonda Sanders of the Community Benefit Committee, left, and Lowndes County Sheriff Eddie Hawkins show off frozen turkeys donated for a local turkey drive, a partnership of the Benefit Committee, the Sheriff's Department and the City of Columbus. Due to pandemic concerns, instead of cooking and giving out prepared meals this year as usual, volunteers distributed hundreds of the whole turkeys Saturday at the Columbus Soccer Complex. Photo by: Jan Swoope/Dispatch Staff
November 21, 2020 11:03:11 PM
Here we are, counting down the days to one of the most unusual Thanksgivings many have experienced. For most of us, it will probably look different. We may have to spend it apart from loved ones we usually share the table with. Perhaps it helps to view it as an opportunity to think outside the box, whether that means moving everything outdoors, or visiting virtually. One thing the pandemic does not affect, however, is our ability to recall and treasure memories past -- and to make new ones. For today's paper, a few of your neighbors do just that.
"Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that it's a day to reflect on our blessings and spend time with family and friends. I have wonderful memories of going to my grandparents, helping Mammaw prepare the food, eating a huge dinner, and then playing. The adults would always nap after the big meal. Mammaw always said eating turkey made you sleepy!
My grandmother always made a graham cracker candy, and I couldn't wait to lick the bowl when she finished. Now these are some traditions that I want to pass on to my grandchildren. This pandemic and losing my mother in August will make Thanksgiving a little different this year. Mom handed me her dressing recipe about three years ago and said, 'Now, it's your turn!' Oh, how I miss her, but she is one blessing I can count. She was a wonderful mother who taught me so much about how to love. Making memories, building relationships and counting the blessings God has given us is what Thanksgiving is all about."
Dena Bradford, Columbus
"My wife Regina's and my most sentimental Thanksgiving memories revolve around our first Thanksgiving as parents. Our son, CJ, was born a month and a half prematurely on Nov. 4, 2009, at University Medical Center in Jackson. We were very fortunate to be able to stay on the campus of the University Medical Center's Ronald McDonald House so we could visit CJ numerous times throughout each day. The medical staff and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurses were very compassionate and supportive in helping us adjust to having a child born prematurely with medical issues. They took great care of him and us while we became acclimated to seeing our child in an incubator blanketed with a heart monitor, a feeding tube and numerous other equipment. On Thanksgiving Day 2009, we were so grateful that we were able to hold CJ in our arms for the first time. We were thankful and grateful for all the prayers, blessings and well wishes sent our way during that time."
Crayton Coleman, Starkville
"Growing up, Thanksgivings at the Walker household were bursting with family and friends. We put all the leaves in the formal dining room table and all the leaves in the breakfast room table. We had to set up card tables in the formal living room, and there were even special small tables in the foyer for the children. The food was set up buffet-style in the breezeway that ran most of the length of the back of the house, groaning with the dishes made with recipes passed down from generation to generation.
Talk around the table was catching up with loved ones and spirited ribbing about the Egg Bowl that afternoon. Most of the family would attend, so depending on whether it was in Oxford or Starkville, we would start eating earlier on the Oxford years so we could hit the road -- some bringing cowbells and some singing Hotty Toddy on the way!
The biggest difference this year is that for the first time in all of our lives, my 102- year-old grandmother, Dixie Walker, won't be able to attend because of COVID restrictions. We will go see her at the Claiborne on Thanksgiving Day, but it just won't be the same without her at the head of the table as the turkey is carved. We will have to laugh and tease extended family over FaceTime instead in the den over football, but we are grateful for each other and hopeful for the future."
Loraine Walker, Starkville
"Thanksgiving is always a favorite holiday of mine. The way my family celebrates usually begins on the day of Thanksgiving, ending all family activities and games on the following Sunday evening. Yes, there's food and games the entire weekend.
One of my favorite memories is a memory from last year. We had a family reunion for all the offspring of my grandmother, Eola Bolden. The family game of the day was musical chairs. To see our family from different generations moving around the limited number of chairs was hilarious! You had those who moved too slow and fell to those who pushed others competitively, racing to get to the last seat. It was so much fun. Unfortunately, things will be different this year due to COVID-19. Social distancing from those you love can be heartbreaking. I will cherish the memories of the past in hope for new happy memories in the future."
Stephen Phillips, Crawford
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.