Thanksgivings Remembered

I remember Thanksgiving on the farm, the Kentucky homeplace where my mother grew up. I see the spacious kitchen of the low-slung log house on a blustery November day. A section of tree trunk blazes in the great fireplace, adding pungence to the roasting-turkey-scented air. Uncle Herbert sits on a stool, pumping the butter churn braced between his knees. Aunt Margaret shapes dinner rolls for baking. Garden green beans bubble in a pot and two pumpkin pies cool on the counter.
Eva Cochran July 1939My grandmother once commanded this kitchen. I recall her as a worn and frail woman dying in a bedroom of our home when I was five. Here, I feel her more vigorous presence. I imagine her marking time by the sun’s rise and set and the season’s changing colors outside the windows.
          She came to this kitchen as a new bride. In the warm haven of this room she rocked five babies and coaxed growing youngsters through their school work. Newborn lambs warmed by the fireplace and one spring four orphaned owlets followed single file behind her as she worked. When tuberculosis claimed her husband, she raised the family and managed the farm. I see her, late of an evening, sitting at the kitchen table with her coffee cup, struggling to stretch meager resources during the Depression years, writing a letter to a daughter away at college–through the generosity of relatives.
          The old house is gone, replaced by a new one that is occupied by strangers. But the old kitchen and my grandmother live in my mother’s stories and my Thanksgiving memories.

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 7:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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