Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the River and Through the Woods
If you ask, most people would probably say that Christmas is their favorite holiday of all.  Not me, though.  Thanksgiving has always been my favorite and I know it is because of my Grandmother.  We all adored Mammy. She could do no wrong in our eyes.  Her approval was all we craved and her understanding was all we wanted.  No matter where we were living when we were children, Mama always made sure that we were in Chesterfield at Mammy and Daddy Dwight's house for Thanksgiving.  We would drive all day and half the night, roll out of that car and race to the screen porch where we would be gathered up in the loving arms of our Grandmother.  She would quickly hustle us off to bed upstairs with blankets warmed by the little pot bellied stove in the kitchen.  It was the most marvelous feeling in the world to snuggle down in one of the big old double beds upstairs, toasty warm under the covers, but our noses would be chilled by the artic like cold of the unheated bedroom we loved. 
The next morning all the cousins would arrive to hugs from their Aunt Deferris and Uncle Mike and we'd race around outside and play like there was no tomorrow. Inside the Aunts and Mammy would be catching up on all the news, the Uncles would be talking about world events and President Eisenhower...I think Daddy Dwight was always secretly proud that he and the great man shared a first name.  After a full day of catching up, the adults planned the next day's big meal.  The turkey was sitting stuffed and ready on the freezer on the screened porch.  His day in the oven would come early.  The shelves were lined with Pecan pies, caramel cakes, fruit cakes and a 12 layer cake that defied gravity by remaining upright.  Once again, the baths would be had, the blankets warmed and we were bundled off to bed to dream of the coming feast. 
We heard the business of the day long before we beheld it with our very own eyes.  I could hear the rustling of aprons on dress skirts, hear the pans clanking against the oven racks as the tom turkey was slid into its depths. The water was running into the sink to begin the seemingly never ending washing up of pans and utensils.  We would lie in bed listening to Mammy and Mama while they talked and compared recipes.  Their laughter was pure music, the melodic notes climbing up the stairs and around the corner then race to the bed where we lay, warming us with the sound.  Soon we would all be up, the rest of the family would arrive and the Aunts would lay the tables...one for the adults and then the children's table.  I always thought how exciting it would be to eat with the adults in the dining room, the conversation washing over me like honey.. .  But today I would give anything to go back to the childrens table with the cousins who were like sisers and brothers, to the laughter that filled those two rooms to the rafters.   I would love to see again the cranberry colored plates and the stemmed glassware sitting on pristene white starched tablecloths, the silver very properly placed by each plate.  But most of all, I'd love to feel my grandmother's arms around me again.  Now that would truly be a Thanksgiving to remember.

The recipe for Pumpkin Dump Cake...easy peasy...

1 (18.25 ounce) Betty Crocker Supermoist yellow cake mix
1 (20 ounce) can pure pumpkin
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
3 whole eggs
1 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, and cinnamon until well blended. Spread pumpkin mixture in prepared baking dish.
3. Sprinkle cake mix evenly on top of the batter. Pour melted butter over the top of the cake mix. Bake 50 minutes.
4. Cool. Top with whipped cream or ice cream.
I use sugar substitutes like Splenda and sugar free kool whip as a topping...great for the dieters and the diabetic members of our family....
Happy Thanksgiving to all!!


Vee said...

You've not lost your touch hanging out over there with the Facebook crowd, Sandi. What delightful memories, which you describe so well that I might imagine I was there, too, in that home, in that year.

Yes, you're so right, I'd love to be back at the children's table again myself. At a cousin's wedding twenty years ago, we cousins were all seated at the same table. What fun we had. Time to do that again!

Thank you for the recipe. It sounds good and I'm snagging it.

Hope that your Thanksgiving week is one for making more memories!

(Oh, one other thing, we really did dress up for Thanksgiving back in the day. It was just like dressing for church. We don't do that anymore in our family. I might have to change that for myself at least. Thanks for the reminder.)

Pam said...

I so know what you mean. Thanksgiving at my grandmother's was special too. I would give anything to eat some of her mashed potatoes. yum!
That recipe sounds right up my alley!

Sally said...

Such wonderful memories, my friend. You brought back many of mine also especially my grandmother, Big Mama.

The cake you mentioned (12 layers) reminds me of one my aunt used to make all those years ago; hers was called Lane Cake. It had coconut icing and raisins. YUM!!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.


Kathy's Klothesline said...

Oh, to dine on memories! Only two at our table this year. I will be missing my kids and longing to hear the voices of my grands.

Wanda @ Just Vintage said...

I love your memory stories. It was like I was there with you running up to your Mammy and getting a hug. I lived in the same town with both sets of grandparents, so I don't have that particular memory, but how fun it was for the out of state cousins to show up!

Donna said...

I wish I had these kind of memories of a Grandmother...but my Mom's Mom died before I was born and my Dad's Mom lived 2000miles away and we only got to see her a handful of times through the years.
I guess that's why I do all I can to give my own Grandbabies those special memories...What a treasure.
Hope you like the Harvest Cake Sandi...We ate one and am saving the other for Thanksgiving...
Happy Thanksgiving friend!

Susie Q said...

How I love to read your stories...no one tells one like you. Sweet memories all...and I think Grace and I will definitely try your cake recipe!
Happy Thanksgiving to a truly special lady!

Brian Miller said...

christmas at my gramma's was always an amazing time...all the family around and so warm...so i feel you there...my wife made something similar to this the other night...

Jeni said...

As a child, I never had to travel for Thanksgiving at Grandma's house because I lived with her and my Grandfather. Although often my uncles and their kids would make it home for Thanksgiving it was not the big, big affair that many have today with respect to meal planning and special foods and such that Christmas ALWAYS was with my Grandma. She would take out all the stops at Christmas with loads of ethnic (Swedish) traditional foods -many that I can't make now either because I don't know how or because I am the only one who probably would be left to eat many of the traditional dishes. Well, maybe my son would be guinea pig enough to at least try some of those dishes but 2 diners on a dish that serves 15 -not feasible, ya know, so a lot of those meals live on in my memories only!
Thanks for posting that recipe though -I have copied it over and will be giving it a shot along with a place of its own too in my new cookbook -with the 3-ring binder that will enable me to do just that!
Happy Thanksgiving, Sandi and Mac too!

Zuzana said...

What a beautiful recollection of a pristine childhood memory. I have those too, those that I take out from the dusty cabinets of my mind, those that feel like a warm blanket, bringing comfort and happiness.;)
I sure will try that recipe.;)
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.)

Gill - That British Woman said...

I wish I could have been there with you, it sounded such a warm and lovely place to be with all of your family,

Gill in Canada

Bob Bushell said...

That sounds yummy, on I can't have it, awwww

Akelamalu said...

What wonderful childhood memories. :)

the Bag Lady said...

Great memories! Thanks for sharing with us.
And thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

Mockingbird Hill said...

Dear Sandi,

Wishing you, Mac and all your kin a wonderful, yummy Happy Thanksgiving!


Carver said...

Wonderful memories you shared. Happy Thanksgiving!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Sandy: It's great that you are able to share these remembrances of Thanksgiving.

Lynne said...

Sorry- I got interupted by Mike returning home before I could post a comment yesterday. Happy Thanksgiving.
I loved this post. It's so descriptive and full of happy memories.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely nostalgic post. It would be nice to be a child again, just for a day. Though I have to be honest, I would rather be a child in the days when I was a child, and not today. Things were so much simpler without computers and an overwhelming amount of technical items cluttering up your house. Just one television with 3 channels. One telephone. No dishwasher, a twin tub and real fire.

CJ xx

Candy said...

Thanks for the recipe and for sharing a glimpse back in time. AAHHH!!!
Happy Thanksgiving blessings to you too ;-)

SandyCarlson said...

I enjoyed this very, very much. I favor Thanksgiving for similar reasons. It's the best and warmest!