My Grandma, Lucinda Weaver was one of the most powerful influences in my life. Spiritually, she remains a major force in the person I am today. Thoughts of family near and far often cross my mind; but even more so around the holidays. At Thanksgiving, I can remember Grandma Weaver singing Johnny Cash’s hymn , “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” with the enthusiasm of a choir of angels! She would sing as she mixed up a batch of her famous dinner rolls. When I was a child my Mother’s family always shared Thanksgiving together at my Grandma’s or my Aunt Juney’s house. Grandma and Aunt Juney are now in God’s choir and I am looking upward and inward for some of that same energy and grace.
All of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins would come but now many are now deceased. My Mom is 84 and in fragile health. Mom lives in a skilled nursing facility due to a recent battle with multiple blood clots. I am most grateful she is improving. I am also thankful that my Aunt Judy Kay is healing after a fractured hip and that most of my cousins remain well. So without the direct guidance of these cherished elders; it is up to each of us to continue the traditional Thanksgiving dinner in our homes. Grandma Weaver took the preparation of this feast seriously and anyone within an arms reach of her was put to work! I usually got to peel potatoes while my sister helped tear bread for the dressing. Grandma always knew the importance of family and the ties that bind us! The traditional Thanksgiving dinner and gathering was an opportunity to reinforce those values.
As I reflect on childhood holidays, everything seemed simpler then. Everyone had the day off with no Thanksgiving sales or other activities to compete with gathering together at the table. Macy’s parade and football were the only time the television was allowed on and everyone sat at the table to share grace and dinner. While everyone was together we took the opportunity to draw names for the upcoming Christmas gift exchange. Like most families this was a time for jokes and laughter. We discussed the creative uses for Aunt Juney’s macrame’ plant hangers and shared a chuckle about who would draw our infamous Uncle Charlie’s name. I cherish these memories and am thankful for my Grandma’s love, devotion and commitment to tradition.
The faces at the table change each year but everyone knows that on Thanksgiving there will be a celebration of family! I cherish my memories around the table and hope that someday these will be a cherished part of my own children and grandchildren’s legacy. It is important to remember and acknowledge those familiar faces who are now missing from each of our tables… however; we have our memories and their love and spirit will always be present. It is a shared and joyful responsibility to see that Grandma’s traditions continue. The holidays are a lot of work but when you think about it….everything worthwhile in this world takes an effort. In this fragmented world of high-tech it is imperative that we preserve the touch and feel of family.
We are all pieces of an infinite puzzle that only becomes whole when connected. As we stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart gathered around the table we are able to see our family’s past, present and future. Future family circles may be smaller but hopefully our hearts will be bigger! And in the dark as even one voice sings out, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, a distant voice will echo….bye and bye Lord…bye and bye.
As you gather this Thanksgiving, may you and yours take a moment to thank those who came before us made this day possible. May we be grateful and leave a seat open for spirit to join us this year…..love and blessings, Sara
*Certain parts of this were published in a writing published in the Tuscola Review many years ago. I have updated it to reflect my current life. In memory and honor of my beloved Grandma, Lucinda Adelle Weaver