My family loves to assemble at my grandparent's home where sometimes we throw barbecues, and fish fries for the hell of it. My Uncle Barry will usually surprise us with a wild game catch and most of the time it ends up in his deep fryer. I call his deep fryer a little piece of heaven because it fries everything from rabbit to armadillo (yes armadillo). My hometown, Huntsville is nestled in the piney woods of East Texas and has about 40,000 residents. I consider myself very much a country girl at heart. Thanksgivings in the past you would find me sitting in front a bowl of Grandma's collard greens crumbled up with jiffy cornbread and fried chitterlins (yes fried) with a glass of pineapple-spiked, cherry kool-aid nearby.
My Grandparents are well-known in the community so visitors are always stopping by. Sometimes people we hadn't seen in years would pop up out of the blue to visit a spell. The atmosphere is so welcoming that on occasion they'll have a bite to eat.
This Thanksgiving will be the first without a very special member of the family. My Aunt Jan will be sorely missed. She was the key musician in the family who sometimes loaded up her keyboard and we'd have church right there in living room. When she wasn't playing her keyboard she was throwing down eating at the table. She was only 4'11" so we got a kick out of how much food she piled on her plate. This Christmas and every other holiday will be difficult for us but with each passing year I pray that it will soon get better.
So this year I've decided to do Thanksgiving at my house. We don't do the traditional roasted turkey, instead my mother smokes turkey wings, turkey drumsticks, chicken wings, and pig's feet on the barbecue pit. I tell you the seasoning is sooo good that you find yourself gnawing at the bone with absolutely no shame. Hence another reason why I love being around my family so much. My mother-in-law is in town from Louisiana and she usually cooks rice dressing, a staple for Louisiana natives. It's the eve of Thanksgiving and most of the food is already cooked. Now, I'm just counting down the hours to the minutes to the seconds before I fill my plate with smoked turkey wings, potato salad, cornbread dressing, baked beans, and fried cabbage. God is good.