WINDING ROAD TRIPS, PECAN PIE, AND SEC FOOTBALL
Thanksgivings Past and Present
Even though so much changes as we grow older, some things still stay the same. I’m glad one of the things that’s stayed the same are our Thanksgiving trips to Cleveland, Mississippi to my wife Diane’s mother’s house. Even though the trip might have changed, after over three decades we still journey down to the Mississippi River Delta to be with family, watch SEC football, and eat some delicious Thanksgiving food. backroads through little towns until Cleveland, and the trip felt like it took forever. Now, the trip only takes about six and a half hours since they’ve added in some new highways. But those long, winding trips when the kids were young were full of road trip bingo and cow sightings. Sometimes, Grandmama would give each of them a nickel for every cow they counted. Of our three kids, two of them, our son Sam and our younger daughter Janie, both still make the trip down to Grandmama’s house every year. Marcie, our oldest, who live in Colorado Springs makes the trip about every other year. Diane’s mother is 88 years old, and, until recently, she cooked all the Thanksgiving food. All the traditional Thanksgiving foods were present, including turkey, casseroles, dressing (made with cornbread), and pies. Regarding the turkey, you can count on “Even though the trip might have changed, after over three decades we still journey down to the Mississippi River Delta to be with family, watch SEC football, and eat some delicious Thanksgiving food.” Back when our kids were little, we made the drive from Atlanta along the interstate to Tuscaloosa. From there, it was all two things every year at Thanksgiving in our family: There will be a debate between me and three other guys in the family over who will carve the turkey, and there will never be a sharp knife in the whole house to cut it with. But somehow, we get it done. For years, the main event of dessert time was pecan pie, but now it’s been usurped by an Italian creme cake that someone brought one year.
The rest of the standard fare includes sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cornbread dressing, and congealed
strawberry salad. Grandmama always had Mississippi Spice Muffins awaiting our arrival. Those, plus a hot cup of coffee, always made the drive worth it for me.
And, of course, no Thanksgiving day is complete without SEC football on TV. While any NFL game is usually just background noise for family time, the minute Mississippi State plays Ole Miss, or Georgia plays Georgia Tech, the TV becomes the focal point for everyone in the house. Like most people in the South, our family isn’t liable to miss any SEC games. That said, even though Missouri and Texas are technically in the SEC, we don’t really consider them to be Southern states. But give us a Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia game, we’ll watch it all day long. Thanksgiving may not be the same as it always was, but I’m glad some of it hasn’t changed. And, even though the day looks different in some respects, we’ll always have the memories of Thanksgivings past to reflect on as we move forward year to year.
–Pa u l Little
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