When the holidays approach my heart breaks a little bit to be honest with you. When I think back to my growing up years and the time I spent with my grandparents I have such sweet and fun memories. My dad’s family lived close enough to us that I pretty much grew up with them. It seemed like I spent as much time at my grandparents’ house as I did my own. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas was spent with them. So, when the holiday season rolls around my mind never fails to go back to those days. I see the orange tiles in the kitchen, the yellow phone hanging on the kitchen wall, the home canned foods lined up on the shelves in the pantry, the blue room (my room), the red room (my cousin Derick’s room), the lavender bathroom, the orange beads hanging from the ceiling at the entrance to the hall, the table set with food with all of us crowded around to enjoy it. I can hear the sound of the garage door going up, the sound of the lawnmower cutting the grass, the washer and dryer running right around the corner from the kitchen, the tv playing in the family room, children playing in the living room, my Papaw talking on his CB in the study, the sound of those orange beads clapping together as children ran up and down the hall. And most of all I can smell the food cooking, the scent of those home canned green beans, the potatoes boiling, the ham AND turkey bubbling in the oven filling the house with the smell of the holidays.
If there is anything she truly loved in this world it was her family. I think she lived for the holiday season when she could have all of us over and cook for us. She loved to cook and she loved to feed us. You could never get by with one plate of food. She fixed enough for 100 people but there were only 12 of us when I was growing up. Do you know how much we had to eat? She always walked around while we were eating refilling our plates. She rarely sat down to eat with us. She waited until the end of the meal. She had this red bowl that she liked to eat out of. I can see her sitting at the end of the table eating quickly so as not to miss a single thing.
She was a fun lady! She was a loving grandmother! She was a fabulous friend! There can never be another one like my Mamaw – although I would sure love to be. If I could be just a small portion of the woman she was then I feel like I will be a successful grandmother myself.
So, no matter what I’m doing or where I’m doing it on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve (when our family celebrated Christmas together), my mind is always back in time. I always feel her with me. I feel her arms around me. I hear her whisper in my ear “Pam, I miss you”. I smell her Estee Lauder perfume. I usually shed a tear thinking about how those days are over now. But I always smile too because I know was so blessed to have her in my life. And I carry her with me forever in my heart.
Bonnie Nelson Stokes Hughes
November 16, 1922 – April 3, 2002