I love the holidays. I truly enjoy the festive atmosphere and the anticipation of making new memories with loved ones, hearing sounds that remind me of old memories, and taking time to show people I care about them.
One of my favorite thanksgiving memories took place in 1986 at Thanksgiving in Granbury Texas.
I lost my real dad when I was 28. Married with 2 young girls, my mom married an old friend and we all quickly grew to love ‘Grandpa.’ Both couples had been the best of friends as newlyweds, my Dad and Paul were co-workers.
Mom and Paul as Newlyweds
Paul and his first wife never had children, and by my account, he was rich. Mom moved into this home full of beauty and I was a nervous wreck. My girls were 5 and 7 and were quickly overtaken by all the amazing things to touch and feel. I threatened my girls if they touched anything.
Having travelled and lived all over the world, our new Dad had collected China from England, Crystal from Switzerland, and Lladro’s…oh my gosh, the Lladro’s. If you don’t know what they are, then Google them. They are highly collectible and expensive figurines depicting anything and everything you can imagine. They are beautiful and delicate. The perfect setting for something expensive to break at the hands of young girls, accompanied by a lot of crying.
Grandpa and Mom had only been married a short time, and our crazy family descended on this amazing home. Mom was so excited to host a Thanksgiving meal of fine dining, complete with the finest tableware, not a paper plate or solo cup in sight.
As we sat around the beautifully set table, a perfectly placed centerpiece blocked the view, so my brother could play ‘looky-looky’ with his nieces. When they would squeal, I had to make excuses for why there were such outbursts.
Grandpa, wanting to share his favorite recipes with his new family, brought out his favorite family traditions. The first was Oyster Casserole. Our family had never been an oyster family, and I don’t believe I had ever eaten one until that day. As our new ‘Dad’ proudly passed the dish, we all took a portion, and the experience was unbelievable. Imagine, warm, slimy oysters in a cream sauce. I quickly gave my daughters the ‘eye’ and told them to at least taste it. I think my oldest wasn’t trying to silence gags while the other was staring in unbelief.
After I swallowed the first bite, I sort of played with the rest of my portion while my brother kept offering to serve me more. We all laughed and enjoyed every minute of it. After several years, we finally fessed up to Grandpa and admitted we weren’t inclined to appreciate his dish, he just laughed. To this day, some 35 years later, it is still a big family joke.
Grandpa is still with us but at 99, he is a little less with it than he was then. I have learned so much from him and love him like I loved my own Dad. I have been so blessed to have 2, really great dads.
This year, love, laugh, and have an awful dish at Thanksgiving. People may remember the favorite dish, but they never forget the awful dish. We will always remember my Mom burning the rolls, the mystery side dish, or the dessert that fell apart. It is part of the memories made.
Take time to hug your families tighter, savor every moment with them and tell everyone just how much you love them. Those are things you never regret.
Also, I want to let each of you know how much I appreciate you. If you are on this email list, I have had the pleasure of meeting you, working with you, or possibly just talking to you. As I read through your names, you make me smile as I remember our conversations, looking at properties, talking about dreams, or even the roller coaster fun of your transaction.
I am truly thankful that God brought you into my life. My wish for all of you this holiday season is that God will bless you abundantly and, that you will enjoy your family to the fullest.
Oh, and I don’t want to forget to share with you the other recipe Grandpa made that has become one of my favorites. It is known as Indian Pudding. It is perfect for the holiday’s and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Try it, and if it is awful, then you will have made a memory.
· 2 eggs
· 4 cups whole milk
· ½ cup corn meal
· 2 tablespoons butter
· ½ cup molasses
· ¼ cup maple syrup
· ¼ cup brown sugar
· 1 teaspoon salt
· ½ teaspoon cinnamon
· ½ teaspoon dry ginger
· ¼ teaspoon allspice
· pinch of nutmeg
· 2/3 cup golden raisins
· ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1 tablespoon butter to grease the pan
· Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional but highly recommended)
Recipe taken from A Family Feast at
Indian Pudding - A Family Feast
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