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Thanksgiving is all about family gatherings and sharing wonderful memories over delicious food. But this year Thanksgiving is going to be sad for me. My grandmother passed away in September and her presence is greatly missed. I called her Grammy Catherine throughout my life and she had a sweetness that permeated her soul all the time. Grammy Catherine was a woman who stood strong in the midst of adversity. She was in her 30s when my grandfather passed away at a young age from cancer. She then successfully raised three children alone with the help of my great-grandmother. Grammy Catherine instilled in me a reverent fear of God from an early age. She taught me Bible stories and brought me to church frequently. She encouraged me to nurture my writing talents and in fact, she was the first person I showed my stories to when I was 12 years old.
When I think about Grammy Catherine, I think about an era when women had class and respect for themselves a lot more than we do now. She dressed very well and paid attention to her appearance in a healthy way. She was not a person who was easily angered but knew when it was time to speak up respectfully. She had life skills that I wish I had. She used to create beautiful home decor pieces with simple things such as wood and small decorative objects she had on hand. She kept a needle container that was shaped like a turtle along with a box full of threads and other sewing materials.
Grammy Catherine had laughter in her heart all the time. I would share the details of my day with her and she laughed at the funny moments. She celebrated my proudest moments and gave me hugs a lot. And she made sure that our family took plenty of pictures. At her funeral, we included a beautiful video of her with slides of pictures from over the years.
Gardening was a favorite pastime of my grandmother. She grew okra, flowers, jalapeno peppers, and cucumbers in her small garden in the backyard. One year I purchased lima bean seeds and together we grew the beans. By the time the holidays came, we had over four bags of lima beans to cook. Some of her best meals I remember include gumbo, tuna casserole, cornbread dressing, sweet potato pies, red beans, white beans, and vegetable soup. Her banana pudding was also delicious.
If you were to visit my grandmother’s room, you might think you stepped into a library. My grandmother had tons of books and I used to see her reading in her bed with the TV off for hours as a child. If only we young folks had that kind of passion for reading. She has the Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedias from the 1970s and I loved reading those! She had a devotional called God’s Promises for Your Every Need and it contained nothing but Scriptures that apply to certain situations in life. I have it now and it looks like she wore it out over the years. I looked at the verses she circled around and highlighted, and this says a lot about her love for God’s word.
I also learned some things about frugality from her. Whenever she sent me to the store, she told me to look out for items on the list that might be on sale at the store. Canned goods were always on sale so she stocked up on them so that she always had some on hand. She cooked meals with staples she already had in her refrigerator after decluttering and cleaning it. She did her own manicures instead of paying high prices for them. My mom used to style her wigs and weaves as my grandmother got older so this saved her money.
In conclusion, this was mainly a tribute to my grandmother. But this is also part of my protest against the commercialism of the holiday season. When it gets to the point that businesses make their workers come in on Thanksgiving, we have a problem as a society. Let’s not forget the true meaning of the holiday season. Let’s focus more on the blessings we have that money can’t buy.