Today was the last Thanksgiving we would celebrate in my grandmother's home. She passed away in December 2007 but her sister had remained in the home until recently, when she moved to an assisted living home.
But oh what wonderful memories had been created over the years...
- making mud pies on the back weathered concrete steps (now covered by a deck) for hours on end.
- eating grandmother's fresh coconut cake made just for me (and I don't even like coconut!)
- working alongside my granddaddy in the garden.
- riding with all the cousins in my Uncle Jim's 1970's dune buggy on a homemade route through the backyard brush. We had a blast!
- my grandmother taking wonderful care of me when I was sick. She waited on me, never complaining, always concerned.
- being introduced to 70's shows such as Bewitched, Brady Bunch, Petticoat Junction, and the like. And, did I mention the Mallo Cups?
- wonderful meals prepared by grandmother... roast, cornbread, banana pudding made from scratch, as well as egg custard pies.
- Granddaddy telling me the story of Little Red Riding Hood in hopes of putting me to sleep at bedtime. Unfortunately for him, I've never nodded off very easily so he would have to repeat it at least twice.
- Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations that packed out their cozy home with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Lots of laughter bellowed through those rooms... especially when my Uncle Jim would present his annual gag gift to one lucky (and unsuspecting) recipient.
- My grandmother's smile, laughter, and unconditional love for her family, which filled her home every single day.
And now, these memories (and so many more) will always fill my heart.
I expected many tears of sadness as I would drive away this afternoon. But the moment I got in the car, I cranked up my radio, flipped the car visor upwards (to take in the beautiful sky looming above) and sang along with David's Crowder "Oh Praise Him" to the top of my lungs.
I praised God for allowing me to know both sets of my grandparents throughout my life, to be loved by them, and to have wonderful memories as a result.
Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house I will always go.
And again at my grandmother's house with my cousin, Lisa, looking on.
One birthday in two very special homes.