I make no mistake in taking the amazing family I have for granted. Not only have I grown up with two sets of grandparents still together, but I have also known both of my Great Grandmothers. My Mamaw Gray has been nothing short of amazing in her 89 years. Well into old age she gardened every day, kept an immaculate house and even worked out at her retirement community gym where she was featured in one of their commercials. She had the vitality of someone have her age and kept us all in line.
Two Christmases ago we all waited with baited breath while she underwent emergency surgery to repair a lung aneurysm the day after Christmas. Beating the 90% chance odds that she wouldn’t make it she came out breathing, but noticeably tired. In the next year she watched as her life drastically changed. She had to live with my aunt and uncle for a while, her days were spent in a rocking chair and eventually her beloved garden was planted over with grass seed. After months of rest she finally left the rocker, and my aunt and uncles, and returned to her home. I wish I could say everything has returned to normal, but old age is a kicker sometimes, especially with such a hard medical trauma to overcome. So it is with no lack of gratitude that I was able to go to her Thanksgiving dinner early this year to document the process of my darling great grandmother preparing one of my favorite annual meals.
The menu never changes from year to year. At Mamaw Gray’s Thanksgiving dinner you will always find green beans, corn, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, ham, turkey, gravy and biscuits. Oh the biscuits! Dessert is always three kinds of pie: pumpkin, coconut and chocolate pudding.
Less than steady hands have led to the need for a few extra strong ones to help out. My aunt Jill and Missy peeled away at a sack of potatoes while Mamaw looked on.
Until Mamaw discovered they had peeled and cut the entire sack of potatoes, which she determined to be FAR too many.
A whole sack of potatoes is no easy task without a cutting board or appropriately sized knife. Jill had to hack away at them old school style with what she called “church knives.”
These two bums spent the morning watching movies 🙂
Then it was time for the biscuit making.
I swear I don’t think she even took count of what went into the mix. A handful of flour here, a cut of crisco there and suddenly VOILA! Biscuit dough!
It was effortless. We questioned her on how many biscuits she thought she had made in her lifetime. We all agreed it had to be in the thousands.
Minutes later the rest of the family started showing up and we promptly stuffed our tummies with copious amounts of Thanksgiving delicacies. A wonderful kick off to Thanksgiving 2011!