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!!