As we head full speed into 2010, I thought it would be fun to recall one of my childhood memories from the past. A time that was much simpler and slower paced, especially growing up in the south. So here we go . . .
The month was November, the year sometime in the late 70’s, and it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. My brother Marshall and I were happy to get out of school after only a half a day, and head with my parents from Okeechobee to Panama City, FL to visit my grandparents for Thanksgiving weekend. Being over an eight hour drive, it was dark by the time we arrived. Nonetheless, Granny and Grandpa Jeter, as I always called them, would always meet us at the door with open arms and smiling faces. Upon entering their house, the air was filled with the delightful smells of the home baked pies that lined the top of the hutch in the dining room. Pumpkin, pecan and sweet potato, were granny’s three specialties along with her amazing pound cake.
Thanksgiving morning always started early for granny, as she would set the alarm to get up and put the turkey in the oven, long before any of the rest of us would dare wake our sleeping eyes. A couple of hours later, cousins, aunts and uncles would start pouring in and granny and grandpa’s small cozy house would be bursting at the seams, being filled with family, conversation and laughter! The awaited time would finally arrive and after saying grace, everyone excitedly began filling their plates with such yummy things as homemade corn bread dressing and gravy, creamed corn, white acre peas, and fried okra out of their garden and much more. The adults would then gather around the dining table and my brother and I along with my cousins would head out to the front porch to enjoy our feast. Sitting in the many different colored rocking chairs that lined the front porch, we ate, laughed, played and talked while we watched for the occasional car that would drive down the quiet neighborhood road and listened for a neighbor to shout a happy Thanksgiving wish. Once we were stuffed, it was time to head out into the spacious yard to spend the afternoon playing, either climbing one of the many huge Cedar trees that graced their yard or by playing on the swing set. My favorite thing to do was to hang upside down from the bar on the swing set, and I spent many an hour over the year’s visits doing just that!
The next morning began early, as we ate a quick breakfast and then granny, my mom and I would head out for a girls day of shopping adventure. Usually the mall was the first stop and seemed magical to me as a child, as it was adorned in garland, colored lights, and other Christmas decorations. Once there, we spent hours admiring all of the beautiful things and I was excited to see the toys in real life that I had been admiring while pouring through the pages of the Sears and Roebuck Christmas catalogue with my brother Marshall, during the past month. Before leaving, we usually ended up at the small concession stand in Sears, which filled the air with the incredible aroma of fresh popped corn and candied almonds. Getting one or the other was always quite a treat for us. Of course having worked up an appetite, the three of us would then head to the Tally-Ho. This was a great, old, locally owned drive in restaurant where you stayed in your car and waited for a waitress to bring a tray to rest on your car’s rolled down window. They served up great Cuban sandwiches made with their own special baked Cuban bread. This was the best sandwich in the world and couldn’t be beat when paired with their crinkle fries and an ice cold Coke! The best part for me though, was feeding the seagulls that frequented there in hopes for handouts. Large flocks would swoop down as they let out their cries and would land on various cars, picnic tables and in the parking lot, all in hopes of getting a bit of something tasty to eat. I’m still not sure who ate most of my bread and fries to this day, me or the gulls 🙂
The remainder of the afternoon would be spent at various stores until we would finally decide that perhaps we should return home. Once there, we would find my dad, brother and grandpa all on the back porch because grandpa had once again built a much too large fire in the wood stove, causing it to glow orange, thus forcing them all outside to cool off a bit! There they sat in rocking chairs exclaiming that they were getting worried about us and were getting ready to send out a search party, and then the truth would surface of how hungry they really were. After spending the next day there with family, we would drive home on Sunday. It was always a special treat going to my grandparents place in Panama City, and somehow even though it’s still a wonderful holiday, Thanksgiving seems different now as a grown up and probably always will. Aren’t happy childhood memories a wonderful blessing!
Fresh off the easels: I just finished my painting, “Basking in the Sun”, this afternoon. It features one of our local Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that spends the summer with us. I absolutely loved the lighting in this piece, as he’s sitting on the stick tree outside my kitchen window, enjoying the warmth from the remaining sunlight.
Wes’ miniature painting, “Cades Cove Methodist Church”, was done from a photo taken during one of our lovely visits to Cades Cove several years ago. Looking at these beautiful old churches is like taking a step back in time. Currently I’m painting a miniature of a Quail in flight and Wes is working on a miniature of Sea Lions from our trip to CA.
Please visit our website for information on current exhibits of our miniatures:http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html
Until next time ~ Rachelle 🙂