Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Getting a Leg up on Thanksgiving", as published in the Pickens County Progress on Nov. 24, 2011

            What are you doing for Thanksgiving? I’m trying to choose between haunting the movies in Canton and hiding with the cat, between the mattress and box spring. Too many empty chairs surround the table these days. That mattress sandwich is sounding pretty good right now.
            My friend’s three-year-old heard her talking about Thanksgiving. He asked, “Momma. What are we going to thank about?” (In the hilly regions of North Georgia, “think” is pronounced “thank”) Leave it to a wise young fellow to use “think” and “thank” interchangeably.
            Last century, I was a three-year-old myself. It was a long wait for that Thanksgiving meal. My Aunts were desperate to keep me occupied, so they started the Leg Crossing Game. One Aunt would randomly and violently switch her hefty legs to cross the other way. Her sisters had to do it too, or be “out.” I couldn’t believe my little eyes, or wait until it happened again.
            If this sounds like nothing much to you, it was certainly something in 1966. Ladies simply did not show their slips. To my horror, I saw a flash of “snow down south” with each tectonic shift of thighs and taffeta.  And not one drop of sherry was ever spilled.
            My friend Cathy has a similar story. She’s from Alabama, where the tide rolls red, and they call their parents’ sisters “Aint”. So the anticipation of Thanksgiving dinner was almost too much for big-boned Aint Rita. At first, she tolerated with a light foot-tapping. Then she went faster until her leg bounced up and down hard enough to make the floor shake. When the houseplants jiggled, Cathy’s Daddy would announce, “Aint Rita’s leg is really going now! It must be close to dinnertime.” And guess who was locked and loaded to be first in line?
            Sometimes we need to be reminded where we came from, in order to act like we know. Empty chairs can be filled. I’m thankful for all of my new friends, especially that wise young fellow. To quote David Cassidy, “I THANK I love you,” Owen.