Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Meal Stories, Anyone?

by Leann

This is the time of year when the stories are written, when the memories are made. The holiday season is upon us. I'm searching for the good memories, trying exceptionally hard to be positive. My son and his growing family will be in Texas with us next week and I want to make some memories my oldest granddaughter won't forget. She already has a sense of humor, after all. Funny is best, in my book!

I have been searching back for some good holiday memories and for me, as a writer, it always comes back to characters. Take my grandfather. He was one funny guy. I can picture him at the head of the huge dining room table in my grandparents' home (there were a LOT of grandkids), the table filled with food, making us all laugh. He had that Irish twinkle in his eyes and always made me feel like whatever joke he told, it was just between him and me. Then there was the shared family joke. Everyone participated. Grandpa hated carrots with a passion. Yet we ALWAYS had carrots for the holiday dinners and every one of us would make sure and ask Grandpa if he'd like some. Doesn't that tell you something about my quiet, little Grandma, the one who made sure we had those carrots on the table? She knew how to make a memory. Smart lady.

On my mother's side of the family, I had an aunt who never needed an energy drink. She was born caffeinated. The meals she made for Thanksgiving were as if she started and just couldn't stop--and this was before the days of allrecipes.com where every day I'm getting a new photo of something I would love to make. She just had the ideas for the meal in her head. What a concept? There may have been a dozen of us for holiday dinners, but she could have fed fifty. And she never sat down during the meal, running from one end of the table to the other to make sure my brother had the stuffing (we actually called it "dressing") or my sister had enough mashed potatoes. Then, after we'd filled our plates twice, she'd come up behind one of us and dump some side dish on that person's dish. "Don't want to throw this out," she'd say.

Without fail, because of the volume of food, she forgot something in the oven or in the fridge that she would bring out later as we all lay on the living room floor stuffed like that turkey had been. "Who's ready for flaky dinner rolls?" I can hear her say. "They're a little too brown, but still good." I am smiling as I remember. Gosh, I loved that woman.

What about you? Any memories about the those holiday meals and why you remember them so vividly? It's the people not the food, is my guess.