Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

What did I do on Thanksgiving Eve? Well, I spiffed up the guest room for my nephew and his wife's visit--this is the nephew who's more like my brother. I made salads, one with onion, one without, as I do EVERY year. I made hors d'ouevres which are "to die for," and it was hard to fill the pyrex because we kept eating them. I baked a pie, pumpkin...Pioneer--or is it Pilgrim?--Pie. O! MY! IT IS SO GOOD. But then how can you go wrong with 5 spices, sugar, evaporated milk, 2 eggs and pumpkin? Everything is ready for tomorrow.

A little strange, but I set up virtual graves for my maternal grandparents at Find A Grave, then I left them each virtual flowers. You can't thank people who are dead, but then all that type of thing, thanks, gifts, favors, that's for the edification of the giver anyway. I am thankful for my grandparents who were so enormously important to me as I was growing up.

It was my grandma who picked me up from school when I was sick, because my mom worked at Boeing. In the summer during school vacation, grandma--Granner we all called her, both as a proper and a common noun--was our babysitter. She cooked enormous breakfasts and then left the food on the table for us to eat on until lunch. MY GRANDMA MADE CORNMEAL MUSH THAT WAS SO GOOD IT WOULD MAKE YOU WEEP. Grandma loved the color red--she often wore red shirts--loved flowers and candy. She wore her hair in numerous braids that she coiled on her head. She had thick, curly hair, so the long braids were dense, and she used a lot of hairpins to hold it up. I called her grandma once instead of Granner, which made her laugh because I was so formal. ...I miss her.

My grandpa was a "character." He used to push his dentures forward and clack them to amuse all the grandkids. Boy, o, boy, he did love his grandkids--there were a lot of us, and we were always over there, at granner and grandpa's house. He was a horse trader (and his father before him) and knew EVERYTHING about horses. He always had a few in town on their lot, and he kept more pastured at our house in the country. Except when he was in the hospital, I never saw him without a belt and western-style belt buckle. He wore cowboy shirts, cowboy boots and dress-type pants. When he went out, he always wore a cowboy hat. That's how he grew up, always lived and worked, and he looked odd out-of-doors if he wasn't wearing a hat. It was never a cheap hat either, only fine hats, one of straw, one dressier of gray felt.

Both grandma and grandpa loved to play cards. Grandma bought the kind with big numbers because she couldn't see very well, although I don't remember her ever wearing glasses. Grandpa had trouble holding his hand, because he had lost the ends of a few fingers in various accidents over the years. Grandpa used to be a poker player in his younger days, and he cheated when he played cards. All the grandkids knew it, but he was never called on it.

Best times of my life were standing at the corner of the card table while the grown-ups played---wishing with all my heart I could play, too--watching grandma eat chocolate-covered candies from a box, grandpa smoking cigarettes he rolled himself and fumbling with his cards.

Right until the end--when grandpa's hands were too clumsy and grandma's hands too stiff from arthritis to handle the cards properly--we would still play. Grandkids would take their turns at shuffling and dealing, and one or the other of us would help them pull out a card from their hand or tell them what was on top of the stack when they couldn't see it. If Grandpa's cheating was more and more what?! We knew how much they loved to play, and we loved to play with them.

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