Wild turkeys now roam the countryside where once they were hunted then gone. The idea of hunting a turkey for our Thanksgiving table was about ancient to me as growing maize. A time of pilgrims and simplicity of life. Dad found our turkey looking much like a chicken only a few steps from the house.
The door opened and squeals of happiness erupted. Another Loxley girl was home for the holiday. Dad watched the lane for hours hoping to get the first glimpse of a daughter returning home. We didn’t gather often enough. Many times one of us couldn’t make it back for one reason or another. Yet this coming home is still something we cherish when we see each other again.
We were greeted with smells of Mom’s baking and cooking. Pies sat in a row on the freezer in the garage. She made our favorite pies. Mine was definitely shoo fly pie. We all loved her cream pies and pumpkin. The house was clean but Mom didn’t spend time fussing on the house. She fussed in the kitchen, and we reaped the benefits.
Our children once more became reacquainted, tentative at first, best friends at last. Sisters piled into the bathroom for conversations long missed. Husbands found their way to the kitchen table or in the living room visiting with Mom and Dad. Exhausted from travel, we all settled into the womb once more.
I miss my parents deeply at these special times of the year. I miss that my children and grandchildren did not have enough of those experiences with my family. Oregon was just too far away. Distance didn’t deter us from keeping the home fires burning. Mom and her daughters started writing a round robin letter keeping up with the news with pictures, news clips and other goodies making the rounds from Ohio to Indiana to Virginia to Oregon. My son decided that he wanted to keep the bond alive for the cousins since rarely did they see one another. For years the letter traveled from Oregon to Mom in Ohio to Indiana to Maryland to Colorado or wherever the cousin lived at the time. Mom loved the letters. They brought the family home again and again. We found them all saved in notebooks when Mom was gone.
The Loxley girls returned home again. Neighbors and relatives opened the doors and squeals rang out again. Long visits over coffee and puzzles. Singing at the piano. Hugging and holding those we missed every day since we had moved to other places. We gathered around the table full of the bounty of the farm and the labor of Mother’s hands. Dad blessed our meal and thanked God for these people he seldom saw under the roof of the house back the lane.
Neff Road you are in my heart this Thanksgiving season. If I try real hard I can still smell Mom’s chicken roasting full of her wonderful dressing and homemade noodles boiling in rich chicken broth. Once more I am home.
Thanksgiving blessing to you and your families. May this holiday be enriched by the love and memories you share. I am thankful for my readers, my friends. Happy Thanksgiving.
Pam Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.