Living Wright: Thanksgiving brings back memories of childhood
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
11/20/12 at 4:36 AM
Go to Jason Ashley Wright's BlogOriginal Print Headline: Holiday brings back memories
It just wasn't Thanksgiving without the Macy's parade.
As a grade-school kid, I'd wake up around 7 a.m., watch "Today" with Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley, and eat Grape-Nuts with a cup of milk and at least that much granulated sugar, as long as Mom wasn't watching.
Backing up a week or so, the Thanksgiving season didn't start unless I saw Charlie Brown and his friends eat jelly beans and toast on a ping-pong table. It wasn't Thanksgiving if my cousins and I couldn't flip through the Sears Wish Book and dog-ear pages to guide Mamaw and Papaw as they shopped the next day. And it certainly wasn't a holiday without bugging Mom incessantly about whether we were going to put the tree up that weekend or the following one, which always seemed to push the limits of what I thought Santa would find acceptable.
I miss those days and would give both my pinky toes - do we really use those, anyway? - to have one more childhood Thanksgiving. Let's call it Thanksgiving lagniappe, as we all have somethin' somethin' extra for which to be thankful this holiday.
If I were actually given the gift of time travel to experience those Thanksgivings of yore all over again, I'd devote much less time to parades, wish books and cartoons, and spend more time sponging-up the little details I long for now:
Basking in the warmth of Mamaw Wright's and Mamaw Walters' kitchens, each of which had its own distinctive, warm, sweet-and-savory smell - a combination of cornbread dressing, turkey and pecan pie. I dare Yankee Candle to come up with something similar, although "Dressing-Turkey-Pie" might not appeal to many shoppers. Besides, it wouldn't smell as good as it does in my memory.
Goofing around with my cousins before lunch, which was always at Mamaw Wright's, almost always served at noon. Later in the day, we'd go to Mamaw Walters'. On the less-than-a-mile drive there, I'd often wish my other cousins were playing Assassin when we arrived - basically, a game of hide-and-seek tag involving a tufted bolster pillow Mamaw made.
Sitting across the Thanksgiving table from Aunt Marion and Mamaw Wright's brother, Uncle E.J., from New Orleans. Aunt Marion spoke with a Yat dialect, and I was always intrigued why she sounded like a TV character from Brooklyn, and pronounced "oil" as "earl" - and, on occasion, blurt out something about Uncle E.J. trying to kill her whenever he drove. We'd just laugh ... Good times.
Attempting to change the channel from football to cartoons after lunch whenever Dad, Uncle Jim and Papaw would start snoring in unison - only to have Dad wake up immediately and warn us not to do it again. And, right after, commence to snoring.
Those Thanksgivings are strictly relegated to the past, what with all grandparents but Mamaw Wright gone, most cousins scattered hither and yon, from Florida to Texas, Alabama to Oklahoma.
Now, it just isn't Thanksgiving without all these memories. Still, I may have to catch Charlie Brown on Wednesday night.