Happy almost Thanksgiving! Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous day of food and fellowship, laughter and love.
I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12 – NIV
I still have her black iron skillet. How many meals came out of that old frying pan? In my mind’s eye, she is still there in her farmhouse kitchen, her petite frame poised over the stove, preparing yet another delicious meal.
My Grandmama was an amazing cook! It didn’t matter what she fixed. Everything that came out of her kitchen was the best you’ve ever eaten. No one could make fried chicken like her. It made your taste buds do the happy dance! She made country fried steak that was so tender you could cut it with a fork. Her cheese soufflé was a specialty. I’ve never found anything that could even come close..
That black iron frying pan produced the best fried okra and fried squash I have ever tasted. No one else could make it quite like Grandmama. Her desserts were to die for. There was pecan pie, transparent pie, apple dapple cake, and cherry crisp. But nothing could top her chocolate chip cookies. They were so paper thin that the chocolate chips stood like mountain peaks rising up out of the plains. And the taste, well, my mouth is watering just thinking about them.
I know, I know. I’m making you hungry, aren’t I? Me too!
Grandmama believed in Sunday dinners. Every Sunday without fail, she came home from church, put on her apron , and went to work. Before you could bat an eye, dinner would be on the table with two meats, five or six side dishes, sweet tea, and at least two desserts. It was a sight to behold, let alone taste.
But if Sunday dinners were amazing, then Thanksgiving was incredible! There was turkey, dressing, ham, ten or twelve side dishes, bread, and four or five desserts. The dining room table was set with the fine china and the sterling silver. A special Thanksgiving prayer was spoken before we all plowed into our overstuffed plates.
Every year, Grandmama pulled out all the stops for Thanksgiving. Well, except for that one year. For the first time in her life, she left home for a holiday. My aunt and uncle invited her and my grandfather to travel out to Texas to celebrate Thanksgiving with them and my young cousins.
I had just turned fourteen, and we were stationed at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC, a mere two hour drive from my grandparent’s farm. Since there would be no gathering at Grandmama’s table, my parents and I went to the mess hall and enjoyed a turkey dinner with the troops. It was quite delicious, but it wasn’t Grandma good!
After our holiday lunch, we decided to drive to the farm and spend the remainder of the weekend visiting the rest of our extended family. It was nearly supper time by the time we made it to the farm. Despite my large lunch, I was starting to get a little hungry. Bounding across the yard, I followed my father onto the back porch, letting the screen door slam behind us. Dad unlocked the back door, and we stepped into Grandmama’s quiet kitchen, flipping on the lights. As was my habit, I headed straight for the refrigerator door, grabbed the handle and yanked it open. Shock waves washed over me, but it wasn’t from the blast of cold air hitting my face. My brown eyes doubled in size as I let out a gasp of stunned disbelief. The refrigerator shelbes were completely bare, save a single small carton of pimento cheese and a partial loaf of bread.
In all my fourteen years, I had never seen my grandmother’s refrigerator so empty. From the look on my father’s face, neither had he. We stood there looking at each other, simply speechless at this unimaginable state of affairs.
After a moment of recovery, Daddy let out a loud guffaw and I burst into giggles with the words, “That’s it? That’s all she left us?!”
Still chuckling, Daddy shook his head and said, “Well,, I guess we aren’t eating here this weekend!”
It was a Thanksgiving to remember, not because of the plethora of fine foods, but for the surprising lack of them. When Grandmama returned home, we gave her a hard time about the lack of provisions for us. She just laughed and said, “Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait for next year!”
Friends, this little story makes the words of the Apostle Paul come to mind. “I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12, NIV).
May we heed those timeless words and likewise learn to be content in any and all circumstances. May we not fail to be thankful for the bountiful blessings of our gracious God. Let us treasure the precious moments with our loved ones, seeing, tasting and savoring it all. To God, be all glory, honor, majesty and praise!
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Psalm 50:14 – NLT
O Good and Gracious God, how You have blessed us time and time again. You have fed and clothed us. You have offered us shelter and security. You have surrounded us with treasured loved ones, be they a loving family or good friends. You have given us good work to do and brought purpose to our lives. You have blessed us with the beauty of creation, given us flowers, trees, animals, sun, moon, and sky to enjoy. Your gift of music and song brings tremendous joy, and the merry sound of laughter lifts our souls. For all these blessings and countless more, Lord, we give You thanks. Most of all, we thank You for Jesus.
In the Glorious Name of Jesus, we give thanks and praise,