My grandmother used to tell this story all the time about how I demanded one Thanksgiving that she bring me macaroni and cheese.
Relax, OK. This wasn’t an incident that occurred, like, a year ago. I was about 4 years old at the time, so the rudeness makes more sense. At the time, I probably only ate about five things anyway, so the lack of mac and cheese was impossible for my 4-year-old mind to comprehend.
Thanksgiving used to be a holiday exclusively spent at my grandmother’s house. She lives in this tiny two-bedroom home that sits about a mile from the Ritz Theatre in Gadsden. My mom’s family would come over to her house, and all of us would pile into her living room.
When I was a kid, we would spend more time outside exploring the neighborhood, crawling up underneath her home or seeing what wild things we could uncover in her shed out back — we once found a Dr. Pepper can from 1982 that was unopened. We cracked the seal and poured out this toxic brown sludge.
When it was time to actually sit down and eat, we would all come into her dining room and the kids would sit at a card table in the kitchen. But, if you’re especially young, then you’d have to sit at the adult’s table.
My grandmother said I sat at the head of the table next to my dad, and after the prayer they passed around the turkey and sides. I scoffed at the yams and cranberry sauce, quickly pushed away the turkey and dressing and turned my nose up at the baked beans and potato salad.
My grandmother says that once the dishes made their way around the table, I stood up in my chair, picked up my plate and slammed it down on the table.
“Man, where’s the mac and cheese!?” I yelled at everyone.
She said the room erupted in laughter, and my mom’s face turned red as she spooned out some creamed corn onto my plate. That was 24 years ago, and while it’s something I have no recollection of ever doing, my grandmother still hasn’t forgotten.
I’ve never eaten another meal at her house without macaroni and cheese.
HEY KID, YOU’RE GONNA BE GOLDEN
Every now and then you’re reminded of the things that mean the most to you in life. The past week has been one of the hardest of my life, and I’m not going to get into that entirely, but I felt like it was definitely fitting that I write about it a bit for this week.
I’ve spoken time and again about my dad’s struggle with cancer, and this week I’m proud to say that he got a great report from the doctors in Birmingham. He was scared for a minute because he said there were apparently a couple of nodules on his throat the last time he went in for a scan. He told me that if they were still there then doctors could potentially opt to remove his vocal cords. If you knew my dad, then you’d know how much he loves to talk. That news was hard for me to hear. Fortunately, those nodules were almost nonexistent this time, and doctors believe it shouldn’t be an issue anymore.
He was anxious about the report, but not worried. He told me, “If they have to remove my vocal cords, then I’ll be OK. It’s just something we’ll have to do, and we’ll get through it.”
He had a team of people praying for him, though, and honestly there was never a doubt in my mind that he was going to be OK and the report was going to be favorable.
I think about my mom a lot around this time of year. I lost her when I was 22, and there was so much of mine and my brother’s life that she never got to see and never will get to see.
But, I think that’s what makes me appreciate the relationship I have with those two guys even more. I would do anything for either of them no matter what. I realized this week just how true that was. I really am willing to do anything to make sure they are OK.
Family is one thing you can’t change. Through the good or the bad — this past week was about 90 percent bad — you have to rely on each other in order to get through life. I can’t make it without them, and I’m glad I don’t have to.
It doesn’t matter where I go or what I do, I’m always going to have those two people on my side, and that’s a good feeling.
Whatever happens, it doesn’t matter. We’ll get through it.
Managing Editor Bradley Roberts’ column appears Wednesdays. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.