Down the Backroads

Posted on Dec 5, 2017

Food has always been a favorite subject of mine; not only from a growing-it perspective but from an eating-it standpoint, as well. I credit my mother with that love for food. She could create some of the most delicious meals ever to grace my taste buds.  And she made it a habit to watch the family eat just to make sure we were all enjoying each meal.

“It does my heart good to see you eat,” she would say. I’m not sure if growing up in the Depression had any basis for those words or if it was just the fact that she wanted her family to enjoy each meal as if it would be our last.

With this everyday kind of mindset, when it came to her preparing our daily nourishment, you can only imagine what holiday meals were like.  Granted we had extra family visiting so more food was necessary, but these meals were massive and beyond comparison to anything else we had all year.

Thanksgiving was arguably the biggest meal-day of all for her. It actually began two or three days prior to the holiday. She made cakes and pies and salads. She bought the best looking turkey in the grocery examining each one carefully until she found, what she deemed the perfect one. She made sure everything that was needed to prepare this feast was on hand for the big day.

I do believe she would get up in the early, early hours of Thanksgiving Day to begin the task that would ultimately end up being the biggest and best meal ever. All I remember was waking to the great smells coming from the kitchen.

By the time mealtime would arrive, my hunger was at a fever pitch. I just couldn’t wait to fill my plate with that perfect turkey, the yams, the stuffing, the salads and desserts. It was overkill to say the least when thinking back on how much food we were blessed to have on that day.

I’m not sure, but I believe this mild obsession my mother had with making each meal special came from the fact that she and my father grew up in an era when “plenty” and “food” never came in the same sentence.

Those days with my folks have long since passed but my love for the meal and the memories of Thanksgiving remain forever imbedded in my brain. I’m lucky to have a wife who is making memories for our children in much the same way.

No matter how far away the years take me from those early Thanksgiving feasts, I’m reminded each November of how fortunate we’ve been, how blessed we are, and the good it does my heart to remember my mother’s meals as I move further and further down the backroads.