A Small Town Thanksgiving

I went to Waycross this week for Thanksgiving, and I am always amazed at the difference of life in a small town in comparison to life in the city. I arrived Tuesday afternoon and drove up to my grandmother’s home, who happens to be 98 years young. My mother and aunt were sitting at the table on the porch with Na Na playing cards, as is their routine daily and has been for as long as I can remember. The moment my feet start up the steps to Na Na’s porch, a peace and calmness comes over me.  Her home is the one constant in my life that has not changed one bit.


I am greeted with hugs and joy by my family. They ask about the traffic and how my trip was. They want to know all the latest news and views in my life. There is nothing like the love and support of your family.  After a few games of cards,  Mom and Aunt Cynthia go to their homes and I get my  Na Na all to myself for the night! We order out food and then get ready for bed. The Presidential debate was on Tuesday night and I wanted to watch it.  Na Na is hard of hearing and had recently gotten a special device for her tv but only one person at a time can watch. She told me to watch and would sit in there with me. After a while, she was so interested that she went to her room and called me in there. We climbed into her bed and watched the rest of the debate. She was so sharp and had very insightful things to say about each candidate.  After the debate was over, she asked me how is it that with all those smart people running for President that we ended up with Obama as our President. I told her unfortunately, that some not so smart people voted for him.

The next morning, her helper, whose mother worked for Na Na when I was a child was there and made us breakfast. Yvonne is such a blessing to our family, and is the reason Na Na can still live in her home, as she comes every day.  Na Na and I sat out on the porch and had our quiet times. I then went for a long walk. My other aunt and cousin were planning on coming in time for lunch. Yvonne made her mother’s famous fried chicken that we request every time! Aunt Peggy and Mary Beth arrived just in time for our big lunch. In small towns, especially in south Georgia, the main meal is at lunchtime. That has been that way since I can remember, and my cousin and I were reminiscing about my grandfather coming home from work every day and having his lunch, then taking a nap while watching “As the World Turns”.

After lunch, I took Na Na to her beauty parlor appointment. For those of you who have seen “Steel Magnolias”  you can picture it.  The salon is attached to the back of her house, and she looks a lot like Dolly Parton without the chest. There was another woman in there and she was so enthralled with me being from Atlanta and what I was wearing. Nona, the owner of the establishment does my  grandmother’s hair every week on the same day. She calls her Miss Mary and fills in Na Na’s check for her. I dropped Na Na off and said I wanted to go to Big Lots, a favorite treat of mine when I am there. Nona told me to look at some lamps she was admiring.

I came back to get Na Na and she looked great, we wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving and left.  I was driving to the bank for Na Na to cash a check when a red pick-up truck pulled out on the side of us and obviously did not see us or hear me. I had the horn going full blast. I swerved into the other lane, and thank the Lord no car was coming, but the truck kept coming and literally stopped within inches of Na Na’s door.  We were so shaken up, and Na Na told me to turn around and go back home.  I know God sent his angels to stop that car just in the nick of time. I thought over and over again how things could have been so different this Thanksgiving had that truck hit us right at Na Na’s passenger door. It made us all so much more thankful because we never know when we step out the door what awaits us.

Thanksgiving day, we all we over to my Aunt Cynthia’s and one of my cousins and his family came too. One of my brothers was there. Scott and the boys were with Betsy’s family. Of course, we missed those who were not there. As we were going around the table sharing our thanksgivings, everyone said the same thing. Everyone was thankful for family.  We had bountiful food and ate more than too much. We laughed and talked about fun memories. That afternoon, everyone went home to take naps.  My brother and I stayed at my mom’s house and watched football that night with her husband.

Friday, I got up and walked over to Na Na’s and had breakfast and visited with Na Na and Aunt Peggy. David came over, and then Mom walked over. Mom, David and I went shopping for David at a family owned men’s store which has been there forever. Downtown is a ghost town, as my brother put it. There are hardly any shops left, and I hope this one can stay afloat. There was only one other customer the entire time we were there.

This may bore you entirely, but for those of you who grew up in a small south Georgia town, I hope it blesses you and makes you thankful for your small town roots. Everything seems to move at a slower pace. People truly care about you and take the time to stop and ask you how you are. They aren’t moving 90 miles a minute. People matter most and things don’t. It is a good reminder to me because I live in the epicenter of materialism and must admit, I get caught up in it too.

This Thanksgiving, I am, as always so grateful for all my many blessings, and one of them is my small town roots.