You’ll have to excuse my absence from the blogosphere last week. My hands were stuck inside the cavity of a turkey around its frozen neck in search of the bag of giblets. I came dangerously close to both throwing up and crying. After several desperate calls to my mom to ask what exactly I was looking for since the giblet bag was nowhere to be found, I ripped out what I believed to be the heart, took a picture on my phone, and sent it to her. When I received confirmation back that it looked like I got everything out that I needed to, I sighed a breath of relief and proceeded to lather Miss Lady Bird up before popping her in the oven for the duration of the next five and a half hours. All sorts of pleasant aromas filled the house from that delectable fowl. David’s family arrived and we pulled the turkey out to proudly display for pictures and then David began to carve her. Horrific chills ran through my body as he pulled me aside and asked, “What’s this?” The little bag I had scavenged for had finally been found. We quickly covered up my sin and brought the turkey around with no signs of distress on our faces, all while silently praying, “Dear Lord, please don’t let us all die.” My rationale for not pitching it all was the fact that some people cook their entire turkeys in bags on purpose and live through it just fine. None of us died. That’s something to be thankful for!
As I gazed at the picture perfect settings (which will one day change, I’m sure, as soon as we have kids), and the gorgeous display of delicious food that my sister-in-law and I made (not to brag or anything), I caught many glimpses of my Mimi’s Dessert Rose dishes that she has passed down to me. It meant the world when she gladly gave them to me as a wedding gift for my “china.” (They aren’t really china, just beautiful floral dishes. They are plenty fancy enough for me, though). Growing up, whenever we would eat a special meal at her house, my heart leapt with excitement when I saw we were eating on those plates. Most fine Southern women have several sets of dishes and Mimi is no exception. It’s not a collection thing really, it’s more of a family heirloom thing. Our family DOES have some hoarder tendencies, but things like these dishes are more than just plates, cups, and serving pieces that a group of people have squirreled away. They are tangible memories that cross generations.
When we sat down to eat, I gazed at seven of the family members that I have acquired over the past four and a half years eating off of my Mimi’s dishes. My mind drifted to the many meals we shared through the years over those plates at Mimi and Granddaddy’s house with members of our family and dear friends. If those plates could talk…they’d speak of so many moments that make up the portrait of our family. The dishes would laugh over Granddaddy’s jokes and stories, prod the children to scoot their rims closer to them so they didn’t spill their food, sigh over the silly squabbles some of us would have, try to get a word in edge wise over all the loud mouths in the room, repeat the wisdom that Mimi and Granddaddy imparted to us all and mourn over the meals where empty chairs were present.
Our turkey was disassembled by a carving set my Great-Granddaddy Sellers gave to Great-Grandma Sellers one Christmas. The silver we used to devour our dinner belonged to my Great-Great Aunt Hazel, who saved her pennies for years to piece her set together. Our goblets and other serving pieces were wedding gifts from various friends and family. My sister-in-law’s dishes have stories as well. Though years and distance have passed from the meals that those dishes have adorned, we were connected across many generations to friends and family that God has woven into the fabric of our lives. Who would have thought that when I grew up, I’d be sharing a meal with a new part of my family that came into my life through my husband over those same dishes, somehow making all sides of my family intersect. So when I picked up my kernels of corn to list three things that I was thankful for, I thanked the giver of all good gifts for the many shapes and forms my family has. I think that’s what I’m most thankful for outside of God’s provision of salvation in my life…the family and friends that have created the memories centered around those dishes.
I added a new memory around those dishes this year, as we were lounging on the couches stuffing ourselves with one last piece of Thanksgiving dinner, our dessert. I confessed about the bag of turkey giblets that I cooked and we all had a good laugh…and gag.