Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and the TSB staff continues to peer into their memory banks and share a favorite memory of Thanksgivings past. This one is from TSB’s Momma Drama writer, Eliska Counce.
By Eliska Counce
This Thanksgiving memory, is certainly the most vivid I have:
A Thanksgiving memory that stands out for me? Now, y’all know me. You know it’s not going to be Norman Rockwell. But it was something.
Sixteen years ago, I got engaged to Hubs. I was so happy and thrilled to have him share a Thanksgiving dinner with me and my extended family. As eccentric (and I’m using the word “eccentric” here in order to be generous) as this older generation can be, it was the first time for Hubs to meet my grandparents and aunts and uncles, and I could show off my cute engineer. Nothing could mar the day for me. Right? Oh, just wait.
Soon-to-be-Hubs and I arrive early in the morning to my parents’ house. A little exposition: for some reason, my father had a “tradition” where the males go into the front yard and rake leaves every Thanksgiving morning. My brothers always hated that little tradition, and I have to say my heart soared when now-Hubs looked at my father like he had a third eye when Dad suggested he grab a rake. “No thanks,” said my mild-mannered Hubs, leaving Dad speechless. Hubs then proceeded to settle in the kitchen where the women were cooking, choosing to hang with the females and all the butter. I loved him so for this.
But the good times really started when the meal was all over. Hubs and I, chilling over empty pie plates and full bellies, silent as we often are around our Mississippi elders, listening to them talk about topics we’re not willing to wade in to with them. Because old people from Mississippi can be startlingly…well, shall we say “not in step” with, oh, well, this century. But we love them and try to just smile and nod and let them repeat Fox News talking points.
So I’m a little hazy from the carb coma when the topic of race comes up among my family. Now, my grandmother grew up in the Mississippi Delta in the Depression era, the daughter of a sharecropper. And let’s just say I come by being opinionated honestly. So I’m kind of paying attention as all my family is talking about race while feeling more and more self-conscious. The opinions being bandied about…let’s just say…are not mainstream. And it’s getting more and more uncomfortable. And then….well, for my now-Hubs’ first meeting with my grandmother, he hears her defending her use of…well, a very delicate word. That white people really have no right ever uttering.
And I’m wanting to crawl under the table.
But here’s the memorable part: Hubs, being Hubs, laughed off my concern and embarrassment and assured me he knew he wasn’t marrying a crazy person from crazy people. Evidently, growing up in Mississippi, he had actually been exposed to racism before. Who knew? But I was so relieved he wasn’t worked up about it, didn’t project it on to me, and continued to be polite, loving, and non-judgmental when no one would expect him to be.
My grandmother has since passed, but I still think my husband’s first time meeting her was my most memorable Thanksgiving…and despite the overtones, made me realize how thankful I was then and am now that my Hubs is who he is. And that he’s mine.