My grandfather, Guy Smith Webster and his daughter, my mom a long time ago

I just have a few memories of my great grandfather, Elmer L. Fletcher who was an engineer on a train and an enthusiastic rose grower. I don’t remember any Thanksgivings at his house but I do remember once that he came over to our house for a chicken dinner. We had chickens at the time and my dad had his own garden. My great grandfather prepared the chicken for the meal. He wrung its neck.

That didn’t seem shocking to me as a four or five year old child. Just matter of fact. I have tried to sharpen that memory but most of it takes place out of doors in the back yard which was vast. I do know that Grandpa Fletcher was a hardworking man who had a farm as well as a special train whistle for my great grandmother to let her know that he was back in town on his train. I’ve written about him before here.

I’m sure we had the wonderful mashed potatoes and gravy to go with the fried chicken on the day that I learned that food didn’t necessarily come from the grocery store.

Most of our Thanksgiving dinners were at my dad’s parents house, full of children and grandchildren and the friends my grandmother always included.

I have written about these Thanksgiving celebrations here.

The food was great and the fellowship even better. My cousin, Vicky and I were very close in age and we always had some kind of joke going on which was usually funny only to us. But for years we would remember to only ask each other to please pass the sugar or please pass the butter.

The conversation went like this…..

Laura: “Please pass the butter.”

Vicky: “Aint got no butter.”

Laura: “Please pass the sugar.”

Vicky: “Aint got no sugar neither.”

We howled at our cleverness and I’m sure the adults just shook their heads and told us to stop saying, “Aint.”

My mothers’ dad died when I was ten and it was my first big grief. I cried myself to sleep for months after he died. One night I got out of bed and crept into my parents room. My mother was lying in bed crying herself to sleep. She never cried in front of us so to see her tears told me that her grief was also very deep.

My grandfather Webster was a very good man. The kind of man who would take in the children of his alcoholic brother and always make sure his grandchildren were a little bit spoiled. He gave us our pet donkey and bought special tarts for us on Valentines Day. He made sure that we got new cowboy boots every year. He always looked after my great grandmother who was a widow for many years.

I remember these long gone loved ones especially in this Thanksgiving season. They had the pioneer spirit and built lives for their families leaving us thankful that they were our own.

Meghan Cox Gurdon writes that children today are being served up books to scare them away from eating turkey on Thanksgiving.