by April Watts
Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday. This is one holiday that has it right. There’s no pressure to buy a pile of presents for a bunch of people. All you have to do is tell your family you’re fixin’ to make a big delicious dinner and that’s it. You get a house full of folks who are happy to see you and, for the most part, they act like they appreciate all the fussin’ you’re going through to make Thanksgiving dinner. In my case, the appreciation is never an act. My entire family will tell you, “April don’t do much fussin’ in the kitchen”! I always say, “If you don’t have a sense of humor, you might as well dig a hole and climb in”. Family and humor can get you through almost anything.
On Turkey Day, my family travels from various distances to get together. Some of them are very tired from all the driving but somehow once everyone gets there, it’s all worth it. The menu pretty much stays the same with our deep-fried turkey, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, redskin potato salad, collard greens, stuffing, and ham. After “Pa-Pa” (my grandfather) blesses the food, one by one, the family starts to pile up their plates. We eat, we laugh and we rest. Then after a break, we start another shift and eat again! Oh yeah…One of my Aunts makes these bomb biscuits. Let me tell you, I’ve seen fights over these ones.
The whole time, we’re laughing our heads off and telling old stories about one another that are so embarrassing; especially when you bring someone new around. Family holds no punches, and no one is safe. After a while, one of my cousins (who shall remain nameless) lets out a loud belch and we all say, “eeeeew” and crack up laughing. It fills my heart with a sense of contentment to watch my family so engaged in enjoying the spirit of the holiday. It’s just an understood rule: Leave your problems at the door. This day is for putting life in perspective.
In my family, we don’t do fancy. Although I’ve made a few strides and my career is on the rise, when I go home for Thanksgiving, I’m just April; Mary’s daughter and William and Queenie’s grandbaby. I get joked on. I get loved on. And if it goes unattended, somebody will definitely get me for my biscuit!
By nature, choice, or circumstance we spend most of our lives changing. We change our looks, our minds, our careers, and so on. If you had told me 20 years ago when I was jumping double-dutch that I would one day be on the radio, a business owner, and twittering I would have said you’re crazy. (Not to mention, “twittering” sounds like something you should be doing in private.) My life has taken many dips and turns which have made the journey more interesting. I welcome change and I never want to lose my enthusiasm for life. But this holiday season, I am most thankful for continuity—a family to remind me of who I am and what matters most.