Thanksgiving is a time for counting blessings and reflection. It’s been an interesting year to say the least; for me, it’s been a cornucopia of joy and pain.We were finally, after years of effort, able to relocate to the Pine Belt. I was gifted with this tremendous opportunity to work with talented professionals, something that was not even a thought a year ago. I lost a brother. One of my youngest son’s best friends lost his young father to this dreaded virus. My heart cries for his wife and sons as they navigate their new world.
I think back to Thanksgivings of my childhood, such a joyful time seen through the eyes of innocence. Thanksgiving meant sleeping in pokey sponge rollers, then knowing it was worth the pain seeing my straight hair transforming into banana curls. It meant hearing my Aunt Nanny say, every year without fail, “this is the best Thanksgiving feast we’ve ever had!” It meant the delicious relish tray and the adults shooing us away lest we spoil our appetites. It meant both regular and oyster dressing, my personal favorite. It meant my Meme Martin’s homemade whipped cream on the pumpkin pie. I’m still convinced the main purpose of pumpkin pie is to hold up an immense amount of whipped cream.
This year Thanksgiving will be different for many of us.
Large family gatherings are not recommended and are not wise. I hope we will all take the warnings to heart, especially with a vaccine on the horizon. My parents, in their 80s now, will celebrate with a small group that will not include me. I’ve missed many Thanksgivings with them, mostly because this newspaper industry is usually very busy this time of year. But this year I long to see them and would gladly make the eight-hour drive if I could.
Kobe Bryant said, “My parents are my backbone. Still are. They’re the only group that will support you if you score zero or you score 40.” This is so true for me – my parents are, without doubt, my biggest fans. And the older I get, the more I come to appreciate what they taught me.
My mother is a class act. The important lessons I’ve learned through her were through example. She taught me to be a lady. She taught me grace under pressure. She taught me that, no matter how bad it is, a cup of hot tea laced with sugar and creamer makes it better. She is a real-life steel magnolia, iron encased in velvet. The rock and glue of our family, she is our holiday magician, and as an adult, I was astounded to discover the effort necessary to make the seemingly magic happen.
To my father, I am forever grateful for the lessons of a steadfast work ethic and the value of attitude. My Dad is the Norman Rockwell version of a small-town doctor. I worked in his office during the summers when I was in school, and I remember to this day the way the atmosphere in his office changed when he entered the building. He fairly crackled with energy, enthusiasm and compassion.
He is loved by countless patients and is an icon in his small town. And it is an honor won through decades of hard work, tireless kindness and boundless energy.
This Thanksgiving I am grateful for my parents.
I love them and I miss them. I wish I could be with them.
But this year I’ll give something up so that I’ll have more to give thanks for next year.
Christina Pierce is the publisher of The Pine Belt News.