Giving Thanks

1459342_10152131697541349_1446286180_nOh, the hustle and bustle of the holidays!  Is there any sweeter sound than the melody of family gathered together to celebrate a holiday, or any occasion?  We have had the same Thanksgiving tradition for the past twenty-one years.  We head to my mother’s house (about two hours from our home) the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at whatever time the girls’ afternoon activities end.  This year, it was after Katie’s evening piano practice (Christmas recitals begin on Sunday!).  We met our oldest, Rebecca, halfway to Mom’s.  She was able to get a ride with a friend at college, about three hours from home.  As soon as we entered the house, the smells of Thanksgiving were already in the air: pumpkin bread, chocolate chip bars, Southern Maryland stuffed ham, and Mom’s famous ham and bean soup just for my husband to have for Wednesday’s lunch.  For those who have never had the pleasure, stuffed ham is like eating a little slice of Heaven on earth.

This morning, my three nephews arrived to join in the fun and laughter shared by my three daughters and my niece.  I thought they were supposed to get quieter as they got older, but no, the raucousness never ends; and what a beautiful sound that is!  Later today, they will make gingerbread houses to take home to display throughout the holidays, and Mom and I will begin cooking the turkey.  By the time we go to bed tonight, the smell of turkey will fill every corner of the house.

When we gather around Mom’s dining room table tomorrow afternoon, we will all take turns thanking God for what we are most grateful.  That includes the presence of every person at our table and those no longer with us.  Then we will feast on turkey and stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes, Grandma’s famous rolls, a plethora of vegetables, and (my own favorite) my father’s incomparable fried oysters, fresh from the Bay.  One of our traditional favorites at every holiday meal is my Godmother’s baked pineapple, a delicious mixture of pineapple and other ingredients that melts in your mouth.  See below for a special treat for you, my readers!

Once we have finished eating and cleaning up the dishes, we say goodbye to my family and head back across the great Chesapeake Bay to spend the rest of the day with Ken’s family.  We arrive just in time to eat again!  This time, our choices include pumpkin pie, homemade cookies, cheesecakes, and my double chocolate chip pound cake.  The day usually ends with a rousing long-distance run of Dominoes, from the double fifteen down to blanks!  Christmas decorating will begin on Friday as the holidays have officially begun.  There will be a lot of eating, a lot of driving, and a lot of family togetherness, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It’s these times for which I am most grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Godmother Judy’s Baked Pineapple (as mentioned in my upcoming novel, Picture Me – Sarah Book Publishing, Spring 2015)

Ingredients:

6 pieces of  toasted bread, buttered                            1 15oz can of crushed pineapple

1/2 cup of sugar                                                           1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla                                                        1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Heat oven to 350.

In a greased 2 quart casserole dish, combine the pineapple and its juice with the sugar, egg, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Add slices of toast, torn into small pieces.  Stir and mix well until all bread is coated with the pineapple mixture.  Cut the remaining toast into small squares, and arrange over the top, covering the pineapple mixture.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Serve hot and enjoy!

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