I think of my Grandma Keeling often this time of year. I associate a warm kitchen and the aromas of the holidays with her. Although she's been gone for 40 years now, I can still see her in that little kitchen at Lead Hill. Thanksgiving was always at Grandma's house. We'd make the trip down to Arkansas after Daddy would get off work. I'd sleep part of the way, waking up when we headed down the big hill that turned into their gravel driveway. You could see the porch lights and the glow of the kitchen windows shining brightly in the cold November night. The house would smell delicious as we came through the service porch, pies and broth and sage all mingled together.
The next morning when I woke up, she and Mom would have already started the preparations for the big meal. Grandma in her apron with the big pockets, their voices would go up and down depending on what they were discussing. Grandma was always cheerful and she spoke often of friends and family. She was a prayer warrior, sprinkled into her sentences were the mention of those who were in need of a prayer sent up. "Bless Cora May, she's going through a hard time right now." We always knew who was sick or sad or down on their luck. Grandma would laugh and talk non stop as she cooked dinner, making trips to and from the pantry. In that pantry were rows and rows of tomatoes and green beans, pickles and relishes, jams and jellies. Every jar she opened, she'd say the same thing... "Isn't it good to have plenty?"
Today as we celebrate with a table loaded with our favorite dishes, in a warm house with family all around us, we feel blessed and loved and her voice rings in my ears. Happy Thanksgiving!