It’s easy to be thankful

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I never have trouble stopping at Thanksgiving and naming things for which I’m thankful. All I have to do is look around at my family and friends and the thankfulness comes easily. And while I’m usually thankful for things in the present, this year a simple phrase made me thankful for something in my past.

Thanksgiving morning found me peeling 10 pounds of potatoes for mashed potatoes. My kids would like for me to serve mashed potatoes every day of the year. When any of them come home it is always the first thing they ask me to cook for them.

My oldest, Holly, will eat them by the bowlful, including heated in the microwave, and sprinkled with cheese for breakfast. So after I finished mashing and mixing, I sent a text to Dallas to tell her that I made mashed potatoes and it made me think of her. Shortly, my phone dinged with a text replying that she wanted some and that she had made cornbread dressing the night before from my recipe and that she was happy that she knew the recipe by heart.

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When I read it, I can’t even begin to explain the wash of emotions that came across me. You see my cornbread dressing isn’t written down. I learned it from my MawMaw Jessie, standing by her side as often as I could on Thanksgiving and Christmas, year after year. I taught Holly to make it the same way, by sight, feel and touch. And I now here was confirmation that Jessie’s recipe was safe and sound in my daughters heart.

It was such a simple saying and yet it made me feel so thankful — thankful for my grandmother who took the time to teach me something from her heart, thankful that I had taken the time to teach my daughter how to cook something so filled with love and thankful that she understood how important it was.

Sometimes it’s difficult to not think about what you don’t have and to let that negativity get the best of you. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of this. If I dwell on my kids being without their dad for the last 10 years all I think about is for what they haven’t had him here. The thankful way of thinking about it would be to give thanks that they had him as long as they did. That he was here to give Holly her first car and go to basketball games, that he shared time with Matthew watching him play football and baseball, and, that even as young as she was, Emily remembers her dad and spending time with him.

Instead of talking about how much the kids miss their grandmother Joyce, we should be thankful that they each have special memories of this remarkable woman. Holly remembers her grandmother helping pick out her clothes when she was queen for Pilgrimage with joy in whole process. Matthew still swears she made the best sweet tea and rice with gravy in the world. Emily was her little baby, for whom she kept a dresser filled with coloring books, crayons and puzzles and let her play her prized piano anytime she wanted.

So this year I am, as always, thankful for my family and friends that are here with me now and share in my life.

But I am even more thankful for the things I know by heart.


Christina Hall writes a weekly lifestyle column for The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at