“Stewed Tomatoes and Okra” Memories

Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:04 AM.

Cathy came and got me, “Kes, are you alright? You don’t have anything on your plate.”

I loaded up on stewed tomatoes and okra and followed Cathy to our seats. The tears came out of nowhere. And I wasn’t sad or unhappy or having a senior moment. I was remembering a grand lady who meant more to me than I ever realized……or could possibly convey to you. I wanted to be ten again so I could tell her how special she was! I wanted to sit on the porch and watch the sun go down with her. As an adult I wished I’d told her what a shining example she’d set before us. She might not have realized it, but Thanksgiving WAS Thanksgiving because of her!

The big house burned down my senior year in college. It was summer before I got home and my heart was broken for their loss. Aunt Bea hugged me and said, “We can’t replace the pictures.”  I have remembered that for fifty years. It wasn’t about wood and mortar for her. It was family, love and memories.

Boy howdy, how much we take for granted. Uncle F. D. said it a million times, “You can’t beat family.” It just never dawned on me growing up that there would come a time when Aunt Beatrice wasn’t there. We figured Granny would outlive us all. Uncle Clifford was as steady as a rock. Mom would heat those drops up before administering to an earache……that somehow goes beyond caring. Uncle Womack never said so but somehow I know in my heart he thought I turned out alright. Aunt Bea several times offered to give me seventeen acres across the street from the original house. She obviously understood my love for her home before I did!

They are all gone now. But how richer we are for their journey!

People are all the time telling me how much is wrong with this country. What is not working and who is not doing right. I’m tired of hearing it! This Thanksgiving let’s remember the Aunt Beatrices in our lives. Let’s celebrate how we got to be who we are. Let’s truly be thankful!

I finished up the stewed tomatoes and okra. They were ok…..but I would have still preferred the pickled peaches.



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