I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful time of year! Today I thought I’d share some of the Thanksgiving activities that happen in New Parish. In Return to New Parish Hannah’s family all come out to New Parish for Thanksgiving due to Sarah’s baby Parley, having a little head cold. So, of course, there’s a cowboy flair to this year’s Thanksgiving…
Excerpt from Return to New Parish:
Chapter 13 – Let’s Talk
“The morning her family were to arrive, Hannah thought, the holiday arrangements had gone pretty smoothly. The only kink in the plans had been when her mom insisted that she and her dad would be staying at Max’s, not Alex’s. Hannah had shrugged that off with the smirky smile thinking, “Really, it’s dodging a bullet, the less time Mom and Alex spend together the better.”
Hannah remembered finding a bit of extra humor when Alex had told her, Cilla, Patty and Hope, “We’ll put ’em in the South wing.”
“Maybe no one else would think it’s funny,” she thought, “but I do.”
That whole area was empty, putting her family in the South Wing for the Thanksgiving holidays was perfect. It was the South Wing part that had given Hannah the giggles. Her southern heritage had long been a source of both pride and embarrassment, depending on the situation or the topic. When someone would say something had “gone south” Hannah always felt a twinge of embarrassment, but when they would refer to southern hospitality there would be a little beam of pride shining from her.
Hannah pondered the memory of telling her sister wives about how her family all worked together to make the meal, “The prep, and cooking, and clean up are hang out times for us. We’ve always done it that way.” She was relieved and grateful they had embraced, and even gotten enthusiastic about her family’s traditions.
A couple of weeks before the family were to fly out, her Mom had sent out the list of ingredients and supplies they’d need for the dinner. It literally took that long to gather all the supplies. Hannah supervised the extreme overloading of the house pantry. It was a very large pantry, twenty foot by twenty foot, but, it was so full with all the Thanksgiving supplies till it looked a bit inadequate. Some stuff had to be stacked in the main house kitchen. Hannah and her sister wives had decided that using the main kitchen probably wouldn’t be sufficient for the monumental job ahead. So, they planned on using Patty’s, Cilla’s, and Hannah’s kitchens to compensate and would probably have to use Hope’s fridge too.
Hannah felt like she needed to heave a sigh of relief and brace for impact at the same time, as she waited for Max to arrive with the South Wingers. About an hour before the plane was to arrive at the small local airport, Max dropped Sarah and the rest of the family off at Alex’s so they could be there to greet the incoming family. Everyone was excited to see everyone again, and for some it was the first time meeting, so there was excitement all around. Even Del was there, feeling better, and looking a bit more plump.
Alex had Buck and the boys on standby, to take the bags to the designated rooms. Hannah watched, at the side windows as Max’s van slowed to stop. The South Wingers began emerging from the van, and Buck and his crew began unstrapping the luggage that was attached to the top of the van.
“So far, so good,” Hannah thought. Then she took a deep fortifying breath, “This is gonna be fun. I hope…”
The next little while was full of hugs, kisses, and laughter. Everyone was shown their rooms, and given help with settling in, everyone except Samantha and David. Their things were left in the van. Hannah noticed her mom avoiding Alex, and Alex not minding.
After the settling, they had lunch in the big kitchen. As they were finishing up with the meal David leaned over to Hannah and asked, “So, where are all those Palominos you told me about?”
“In the stables,” she chuckled. “I can show you in a bit, after the dishes are done. Okay?”
“Sure,” he smiled.
“I can walk out there with you. If you want to go ahead out?” Alex offered.
“Alright,” David nodded, getting up to follow Alex, “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” Alex said leading the way out of the kitchen.
Hannah didn’t worry about this matchup, she smiled, thinking, “It’ll be good for them to get to know each other.”
After inventorying and assessing the supplies, Samantha gave Hannah her approval, “Looks like you got everything, Sweetie. We’ll get an early start on it in the morning.”
“Yep,” Hannah smiled, feeling a bit proud of her new position in the Thanksgiving hierarchy. All previous years she’d been the gofer, the assistant, and the “go put this in the garage fridge person,” which she didn’t mind at all. She was sure those roles would resurface in the morning. These roles were all comfortable for her. This new role was much more stressful, but she liked it all the same.
“I made tea so we can have a nice visit in the sitting room,” Cilla said as she joined them in the pantry. “It’s herbal,” she smiled seeing the look on Samantha’s face. “Mint, no caffeine.”
“Oh,” Samantha’s expression still looked awkwardly uncomfortable as she nodded.
“Come on Mom,” Hannah chuckled, “it’s not against the Word of Wisdom.”
“I know,” Samantha said, trying to recover from her obvious awkwardness at having tea.
“It’s really good,” Cilla smiled. “Del grows it in her garden, all organic.”
Entering the sitting room Hannah noticed that it was an all girl tea party. She looked questioningly at Sarah, “Max took the kids and Dave and Paul out to the stables to see the horses.”
“Ah,” Hannah nodded, sitting down on the sofa close to Patty and snagging herself a chocolate chip cookie.
“Here Mom, take this chair,” Brenda got up from the armchair she was sitting in and took a seat next to Hannah. It was a tight squeeze, but she was a very petite person and made it work.
“Thanks, Sweetie,” Samantha smiled.
“So, Samantha,” Patty began the conversation. “Tell us about your Thanksgiving tradition. Why do you all get together and do this? I know there has to be an interesting story in it.”
Samantha nodded and looked pleased, “My great grandparents were immigrants, from England. They came over in 1915, just as the war was beginning. They were very proud to come to America and become citizens.
My great grandfather already had some family that had immigrated a few years before, so they had a place to come to. It was in August, and believe me, South Georgia in August is an experience. My grandmother said that her mother told her she felt like she was going to die from the heat that first summer. She didn’t, they survived, and became citizens just before Thanksgiving. So, for them it was a special time to celebrate every year, both being American and being grateful.
My grandparents taught me that when a family works together, they are close and stay that way. Their family had always worked together, so that’s what my grandparents did. As things changed and the world evolved with different job opportunities becoming available – things other than farming. Well, they made sure there were still opportunities for the family to get together and work together. Over the years that work opportunity has become our Thanksgiving tradition.”
“That’s so wonderful!” Hope said. “I’m glad we get to be part of it.”
“Oh, me too!” Patty beamed. “Your Grandmother was right. Working together does bring people close.
“Gran was an amazing lady,” Hannah sighed. “We called her Gran, but actually she was our great grandmother, we never got to meet our grandmother.”
“Oh?” Patty queried.
“She and my father passed away when I was a very young girl,” Samantha interjected. “I was raised by my grandparents.”
“Oh, I see,” Patty nodded understandingly.
Soon the tea party was over and everyone was back together. Hannah thought the whole house seemed to be alive with life and laughter, and noise. Later that evening was a true cowboy dinner with large rib eye steaks and baked potatoes from the grill and a huge cast iron pot of baked beans cooked over the fire pit. When Alex had said he’d take care of dinner that night Hannah had had full confidence in his abilities but was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. She watched as he and Max manned the grill, including Max’s older boys, teaching them the fine art of manly grilling.
Hannah got a good laugh when her Dad commented on how good the steaks were and asked where Alex had gotten them. Alex smiled broadly and replied, “Fresh off the hoof.”
Later that night all the kids were gathered to Hannah’s apartment for the traditional slumber party. All the nieces and nephews along with Liam, Cassie, and Bella were there. Even Rosie and Mia stayed which was a bit of a surprise to Hannah, but she was very pleased they felt that comfortable with her. There was popcorn, movies, and not much floor space when the dust of things settled.”
Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below: