Appalachia Holidays in Appalachia

Thanksgiving Memories

Thanksgiving memories from Appalachia

“It was always a day of bounty when I was young. My best memories, however, are of the days when my older sons were teenagers and my youngest was just a baby. In those days, the morning was filled with men getting out to hunt–boots clumping, guns stacked at the door, gloves and hats and orange vests everywhere, coffee constantly being made, and lots of excitement, even if no one got a deer. If it was snowing so much the better. I’d be inside cooking and getting the big dinner ready. We raised our own turkeys and vegetables, and often had a venison roast as well. It was day full of the richness of late autumn, late childhood, and good food.”

Granny Sue – November 2008

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I hope you enjoyed Granny Sue’s memories of Thanksgiving.

Tipper

 

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 26, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Apparently I was wrong about the rifle. Better minds than mine have spoken! It was definitely a Winchester that we ruined back when I could see good enough to know the difference.

  • Reply
    Quinn
    November 25, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Miss Cindy’s comment almost made ME cry! 🙂
    (Tipper, I’m reading backwards today and just posted my best Thanksgiving memory on the next post, so here I just have to comment on that beautiful patchwork quilt! I love those colors so much.)

  • Reply
    Tamela
    November 25, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Although I’m a bit late for this response, I’d like to be in the pot for the drawing for the hat. It would be a fine addition to my Dad’s and my collection of “Gimme Hats” – most from Farm Implement stores, Feed Stores, and such although a few from some vacation areas have snuck into the collection recently.
    Thanksgiving was such a short holiday that it was usually just our family. In my early childhood that meant one set of great grandparents, one set of grandparents, a great aunt, an aunt and uncle, sometimes joined by another aunt and uncle, my sister (sickly so not much fun), and me. My best friends were whatever critters I could find scurrying around the place and the orange trees. Thanksgiving marked the beginning of citrus season and the navel oranges heralded the way. As I played out in the orchard I would snack on the ripe, fresh oranges right off the tree.
    Guns were only put to use to scare off hungry critters stalking chickens and goats. You had to go several counties north to thick chaparral country for any serious hunting.
    We had a “traditional” thanksgiving but more and more we realize how diverse “traditional” can be.
    I’ll stop running off at the mouth – but do hope you and your family and your readers enjoy thanksgiving, whatever your traditions may be.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    November 24, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    It will be our first Thanksgiving after having moved to these foothills of the Smokies from Indiana. All of our kids are driving all the way down here from Ohio and Indiana to have Thanksgiving with us in our new home.
    Granny Sue sure wrote a nice story; obviously a good writer and a good story teller.
    Kasie and I hope you have a wonderful family-filled Thanksgiving with all the trimmings.

  • Reply
    Howland
    November 24, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I’ve been wrong more than once or twice, but that rifle looks more Marlin-y than Winchester-y. Now, you are going to have to settle the difference between Mr. Ammons and myself.
    I’m in for the hat!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 24, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Our Thanksgivings were a lot like Granny Sue’s with the men hunting and Mom preparing a feast for when we returned. Ed that’s not a Model 94 Winchester but a Marlin, Marlins ejected out the side and the Model 94 ejected out the top. Both are good Brush Guns for Deer. I have my Dad’s Pre-64 94 which I sometimes take Deer Hunting just as a way of honoring him even though I have more powerful Bean Field Rifles. That cap would sure improve my looks since I could pull it down to hide part of my face.

  • Reply
    Jeanie
    November 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    That had would be great–sure to get comments! I’d love to have it but I think C. Ron has the best reason! Although this year has been a rough one, I still have much to be thankful for at Thanksgiving–good friends.

  • Reply
    Claire Olson
    November 24, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Your blog is my coffee companion every morning. I am adding Deer Hunters stuffing to our Thanksgiving table this year. Our family calls it Friendsgiving because we gather friends and acquaintances that don’t have a family to spend the day with or are unable to travel to them. It makes a special dinner.
    I would be thrilled to win the cap. We would wear it with pride. May your and your and the blog readers all enjoy tge blessings of Thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    Annette Casada Hensley
    November 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    In the days of my youth, the hunting excitement around Thanksgiving was rabbit hunting. Dad always had beagles, and great anticipation occurred for the first hunt of the season. Oh, how I’d love to have one of the rabbits or squirrels that Mom could cook up from the menfolk’s day afield! Another of my treasured memories is the first Thanksgiving that brother Jim offered up his first wild turkey to the harvest table. His wife Ann was so afraid of how it might taste that she also cooked one from the store. That was the first and last time that there’s been a worry about the taste of a turkey brought in from the wild! Wishing everyone a hearty and healthy Thanksgiving. We have so much for which to give thanks.

  • Reply
    Tom
    November 24, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Thanksgiving is such a special time and should remind all of us just how very blessed we are.

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 24, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    It’s hard to be absolutely sure but is that not a Model 94 Winchester .30-30 Carbine? One from back when they were made of all wood and real forged metal? Pre-1964 just like silver coins I think.
    When I was a teenager I worked in a little in a store for the man who would later become my brother in law. He bought, sold and traded guns and had a little shop in the back where he did a little smithing. Tommy Lovingood brought in an early Model 94 (the one with the hex barrel), to get it refinished. It looked old because it was. It had a few pits here and there and some of the bluing was worn off. The corners on the barrel were rounded in places but it looked good considering its age. But, he wanted it to look new so that’s what we did. We stripped the stock and forearm and applied fresh stain and varnish. We sanded and steel wooled all the parts and pieces down to bare metal and reblued them. We drawfiled the flats on the barrel to get rid of the pits and crisp up the corners, boiled it in caustic soda then reblued it. It was a pretty gun when it was finished and Mr. Lovingood was happy with it but looking back, we took a gun that could have been worth thousands (possibly 10s of thousands) and turned it into a wall hanging. Oh well!
    I would love to have the hat but I druther have that gun!

  • Reply
    Doris Noland Parton
    November 24, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving, and I like the cap. Even a blind pig gets an acorn sometimes!

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry, Sr.
    November 24, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I would love to have that hat. I am retired from law enforcement and the pig on the front of the cap would be just the thing.

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    November 24, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I love this time of the year, and I love your blog, and I’d love to have that cap. Happy Thanksgiving to all

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 24, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Tipper,
    I love to read Granny Sue’s reflections of Thanksgiving, and I remember so well those times like the Deer Hunter in the first picture. I think I was about 9 when I watched that big first Buck swimming across the Nantahala at Little Choga. We got that big booger!
    This morning I was listening to our local radio program and Donna Lynn began with The Wilson Brothers (Pap and Ray) singing a beautiful Gospel Bluegrass Hymn…Ken

  • Reply
    Chris Smith
    November 24, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I love that hat – cute little pig, hope he’s not blind…

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    November 24, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Looking forward to our first Thanksgiving in our new house in Brevard, NC. I am not a hunter, but we have a lot of deer in our neighborhood. Just saw a big buck climbing a steep bank near our main road. I saw does and this year’s fawns almost daily. Lots of wild turkey here also. We will stick with the “store-bought” turkey for Thanksgiving, though.
    I love baseball caps! I think a blindpigandtheacorn.com baseball cap would get a lot of questions.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr.
    November 24, 2015 at 9:48 am

    There were seven (7) of us growing up together. Seven children + Mom and Dad on Thanksgiving was a table full, or for that matter, any other day besides Thanksgiving. There always seemed to to be an additional two or three there to share a good meal. Mom was a good cook and she loved to fill the table with delicious food of all kinds. Mom, Dad and three siblings are now gone, but the memories are still wonderful.

  • Reply
    Gene
    November 24, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Our grand-kids, son and son-in-laws still hunt. It’s a source of pride as to which of our extended family brings the venison stew to the thanksgiving table. Love the fall and Christmas seasons.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 24, 2015 at 9:38 am

    one sharp memory of Thanksgivings gone by — we all came home to Grandmother’s house and everyone brought their special dish (on top of all the yummy ones Grandmother made). After the meal no one had dessert right away — my dad and uncles would all get up from the table and start drifting away to other parts of the house — the bedrooms. Time for a nap! The women cleaned the kitchen while they slept and then it was everyone back to the table for dessert. I have never seen so many pies and cakes and my favorite ambrosia. Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving everyone.

  • Reply
    steve in tn
    November 24, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I love the last lines. Late childhood late autumn … a post that says more than the words.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    November 24, 2015 at 9:16 am

    My cousins and I always went hunting on Thanksgiving Day. My sister would scour the woods for a Christmas tree. She started decorating the next day. She usually had the 3rd or 4th tree up by Christmas because of the drying out and needles falling everywhere.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    November 24, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Thanksgiving used to be a holiday I looked so forward to. When I was first married, that was the time of year we always made the fourteen hour drive back home. It was such a happy time for a few days until it was time to go back to where we worked. Many years of Thanksgiving memories include crying for hours and driving in bad weather to get back to a place I hope I never see again. Now the kids and grandkids live close by and just have to eat, nap and take a few steps before they are into the woods for a last weekend of deer hunting excitement.

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    November 24, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Most of my childhood Thanksgivings were at my Grandmother’s house on the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. In addition to the turkey, which came from a farm down the road, and the usual side dishes, we always had persimmons (as an appetizer) and sauerkraut.

  • Reply
    eva nell mull wike, PhD
    November 24, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Well, Tipper: Your hat and all the notes are most inviting on this chilly morning. I’d be right proud to wear that hat while I am doing my gardening.
    Don’t reckon ALL the Oak leaves will ever just turn loose and fall! But we sure got a heavy frost last night! Best of all, this morning the leaf truck is passing through our neighborhood and the leaf men scurry around to make sure they vacuum up every leaf.
    Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Dolores
    November 24, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Memories are good for the soul. I enjoy remembering Thanksgiving Days that we did every other year with my aunt in PA. My mom would have it one year and then my aunt. Then there was the football game and the parade in Philadelphia. My aunt is still with us; at the age of 93 she is sharp as a tack. I think that cap would be a fun keepsake. I’m in!

  • Reply
    James Smithson
    November 24, 2015 at 8:47 am

    There was always a big Thanksgiving get together at my wife’s parents home in WV. There were 8 kids in her family and after they all growed up all the grandkids and husbands and wives all came home for the special day. The men all went hunting and someone always killed a deer. Those times are gone and we make our own memories for our families but I do miss those days past.

  • Reply
    wayne smith
    November 24, 2015 at 8:01 am

    my brother, cousins and i always went duck hunting early thanksgiving morning. of course
    we were back home by noon for a celebration with extended family.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 24, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Wonderful memorirs. This day has always been special for my family too. Both sides of my family had commercial fishermen, so along with a traditional dinner we had fish and grits for breakfast. Preparing food, gathering food and eating shows our devotion to family. Can’t think of anything that shows how grateful we are for our families.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 24, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Wonderful memorirs. This day has always been special for my family too. Both sides of my family had commercial fishermen, so along with a traditional dinner we had fish and grits for breakfast. Preparing food, gathering food and eating shows our devotion to family. Can’t think of anything that shows how grateful we are for our families.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 24, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Wonderful memorirs. This day has always been special for my family too. Both sides of my family had commercial fishermen, so along with a traditional dinner we had fish and grits for breakfast. Preparing food, gathering food and eating shows our devotion to family. Can’t think of anything that shows how grateful we are for our families.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 24, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Wonderful memorirs. This day has always been special for my family too. Both sides of my family had commercial fishermen, so along with a traditional dinner we had fish and grits for breakfast. Preparing food, gathering food and eating shows our devotion to family. Can’t think of anything that shows how grateful we are for our families.

  • Reply
    Barb Wright
    November 24, 2015 at 7:23 am

    I can relate to this post..I have always wondered why deer season is on Thanksgiving weekend?!? This year, on turkey day. Fri. & Sat. are another 3 days of turkey season. Most of the men in the family are going hunting. At least at my house, it makes some chaos for the cook. I do enjoy it, though!! Love the hat, too!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 24, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Oh Tipper, you’ll make me cry. I love that picture of the Deer Hunter. He was such a beautiful child and he is such a beautiful man and a fine man!

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