Thanksgiving has changed since I was a kid.
Oh, there are a few things that have remained the same. The Detroit Lions still lose to whoever they play that day, but now there are usually three NFL games to watch and perhaps even a college game as well.
These days, we have more sports channels to carry these games than we had channels all total back then.
What I eat has changed too. We usually have turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce made with real cranberries, and pies. We always had sweet potato when I was growing up, but I have since discovered that pumpkin isn’t bad either. In a pinch, southern pecan pie will do just fine too. Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever met a pie I didn’t like!
When I was a kid we never had turkey for Thanksgiving, or any other time for that matter.
Mama always said she didn’t like turkey because it was too dry. I wanted to make that judgment for myself, but somehow I never had a vote.
I think the real reason we didn’t have turkey was because it cost more than chicken. I heard my family had turkey once, but I don’t think that was for Thanksgiving.
Long before my arrival, my family owned a live turkey. Every time my older sister got near old Tom, or maybe it was Tammy, the turkey chased and flogged her. One day Tom attached Sis one time too many and they had turkey for dinner. Everyone especially enjoyed dinner that evening... everyone except ole Tom.
The family never owned another turkey, and I never enjoyed eating one at Thanksgiving. I watched families on television eating turkey and stuffing. I was a little nauseated watching them dig stuff out of a turkey. I asked Mama what that “stuff” was, and she said, “that stuff is stuffing.”
The only stuffing I knew about was how we stuffed ourselves with all that good food. I asked “How come we don’t have stuffing in our turkey...I mean chicken?”
Mama explained that we eat dressing instead. Since we don’t stuff dressing inside our turkey, I mean chicken, I understand why we don’t call it stuffing. I don’t understand why we call it dressing.
I thought dressing was when we put on clothes or what we drown our tossed salad in. Maybe we should put our Thanksgiving dressing on top of our turkey, I mean, well, you know what I mean. I think the real reason we don’t put it inside is because the inside is not big enough to hold it all. We cook a pan full of dressing that is about the size of the Detroit Lion’s football field. That would take some more big turkey to hold all that.
Thanksgiving is far more than a time to eat too much food and watch too much football.
More importantly, this is a special time of year when we pause to give thanks to God for all He is and all He has done.
Yes, we should give thanks for the turkey, the dressing, and the pies but for far more than that. It’s not simply about material or tangible things, but about things that can’t be seen as well. I am thankful for my family and friends.
I’m fine with the fact that my family didn’t have turkey back then.
What we ate didn’t and doesn’t matter as much as whom we are blessed to eat with and that we have something to eat.
I am thankful that ole Tom didn’t do serious damage to Sis, but I do have to admit, I would have loved seeing him chase her one time around the yard...just a little.
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.