Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thinking About My Peeps This Thanksgiving

Blood is always thicker than water in my book. When you have a large, close-knit family like mine you really don't spend much time with friends. Whenever I go home to visit, I am content just hanging out with my mom, sister, husband, grandparents, uncles, aunts and first cousins.
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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Your Bravery Will Never Be Forgotten

As you well know, November 11 is Veteran's Day, a day set aside to honor those who have set aside their lives to serve and protect our country. Several of my FB family and friends are members of all branches of the military. I applaud them. I applaud all Veterans for their strength and courage. Not everyone is equipped to take on the task. It takes a special kind of person to want to serve in that capacity. I believe there should be a special place in heaven for our soldiers. As a history buff, I am particularly reminded of the sacrifices made by African American soldiers. From the colored infantry of the 54th Massachusetts, who volunteered at a time when they were still slaves to fight on behalf of the Union; the Buffalo Soldiers who fought in the Spanish American War. The African American soldiers who shed blood during World War I and II, who were treated harsher than the enemies they were set out to fight against and the brothers who perished in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. I am not discounting the sacrifices made by soldiers of other races but an African American soldier should be particularly commended for willing to die for a country that didn't always have their interests at heart. Imagine yourself a young black soldier in Germany during World War II getting ready to see a Josephine Baker concert. Because of your black skin toned you are told to sit behind the white German POW's. How crazy is that? I don't blame Josephine Baker for refusing to perform unless the black soldiers and white soldiers sat together. Again, I applaud all Veterans. Times have changed where women see just as much action as men. They could choose to not enlist, choose to stay home, raise families, or focus on their careers but they don't. They too, put their lives on the line for this country. When I have soldiers on my flights, I make sure they get first-class treatment. If you're at least 18, the first round of drinks are on me. I feel if you are old enough to get permission to kill you can at least have a beer or a cocktail. So to all my Veteran FB friends: Christy Simmons, Willie Hightower, Lanita Winfrey, Tammy Cole, Kelton Gilbert and countless is your day, celebrate and be proud of your bravery and service. I love you all! Thank you!