By Marianna Boyce
It’s that time of the year when many of us may experience feelings of nostalgia. I love reminiscing about holidays past. On Thanksgiving Day, rest assured, my Daddy will be outside raking and burning leaves in his brick fire pit. (He will probably also be sporting a tie!) I adore watching him stand there stoically with his hands propped up on the rake while he watches the leaves burn. It always sparks great conversation when my son and I smell a fire off in the distance in crisp autumn air. I’m thankful God has blessed us with another year for Daddy to light his traditional Thanksgiving bonfire.
I also need to introduce you to my maternal grandmother (Maw). She was the only one of my grandparents that I remember. She was no bigger than a minute but she owned a large personality. She passed away many years ago at the tender age of ninety. One thing I always loved watching her do when I was a child was make homemade buttermilk biscuits. She would scoop out a handful of lard and circle it around the huge mound of flour in her “magical” wooden bowl. She would “squish” flour and lard as she slowly poured buttermilk into the bowl with her arthritic hands. She would incorporate and knead it until it possessed the consistency of perfection. That small handful of lard “magically” transformed into a large ball of dough. Maw would then pinch off a bit and roll it in her tiny hands. As she placed that ball of dough on her baking pan, she would gently place her knuckle prints across the top of each biscuit. This was a must! She often remarked without the knuckle prints, they just wouldn’t taste as good!
My precious Mama has continued making these biscuits after Maw passed away. I had always wanted to learn but it just looked so daunting. Every Thanksgiving at Mama’s house, I watch her in action. She always makes it look so easy! Last Thanksgiving (2017), she just wasn’t herself. She was experiencing a great deal of pain in her back and could hardly stand, but she just HAD to make those biscuits. I told her to sit next to me in the kitchen and teach me to make them instead. It was time to pass the torch! Mama didn’t realize I was also experiencing an excess of pain in my body related to RA, especially in my hands; however, I was willing to suffer through the pain for my sweet Mama!
I grimaced when I started pouring cold buttermilk into the bowl incorporating it with the lard and flour. After a minute or two, a Thanksgiving miracle happened! It turned out, this was VERY therapeutic for my hands. Once I finished, I felt fantastic! The smell of freshly baked biscuits wafting through the air was enough to make anyone’s day! I could hardly wait for both of us to taste one piping hot from the oven! My oldest brother Tommy was certain we would be using them for weapons, but I’m happy to report that my first batch of biscuits turned out quite good. I had a great teacher, but of course Maw AND Mama’s biscuits remain unmatched! Maybe this year she will teach me to make her homemade giblet gravy. I’ll be making the biscuits!
We truly need to pass on precious memories and treasured traditions to our future generations. I’m wondering if we should even revive some that we’ve “forgotten.” So much seems to get lost along the way. When did we get in a big hurry to do everything? The answer is…just one moment at a time! Let’s just slow down this holiday season and simply enjoy the journey. God bless you and your family! Happy Thanksgiving y’all!
- I have lost one additional pound since my last post (for a total loss of 5 pounds). I hoped to be further along by now, but you know…Halloween candy and all. I have a fondness for Reese’s cups! (Who knew?) Only 15 more pounds to lose!