November 25, 2015 by Renee Griffin
Thanksgiving is a few days away, but Mama’s table is already set.
Ruby red glasses carefully placed above antique china plates dancing with delicately painted roses are poised in front of every chair. The round plate edges shine with gold trim, and large, empty crystal serving bowls wait to be filled. Linen napkins nestle silverware pointing to the centerpiece tying it all together.
Mama’s table is beautiful and ready to serve.
We spend our Thanksgiving holiday with my husband’s family in the necessary compromise marriage requires, but this past weekend we had dinner at mama’s house. If we hadn’t stopped by to see mama & daddy days in advance of Thanksgiving, I would have missed seeing her table.
Mama was a gracious hostess to my rowdy crew, and as always she was thrilled to share the beauty of her table and fill the empty bowls and plates with delicious fare.
We’re addicted to her “hoecakes”, small crispy cornbread cakes fried in the cast-iron skillet. Nobody makes them like she does, and the aroma of these tasty treats is unmistakeable.
As we filled our plates high with all the yummy foods she’d prepared, Mama said, “I’m so glad I have the chance share my table with you.”
She went on to explain how she’d enjoyed setting each place in advance of the season.
The table was set in expectation of guests.
“I’m ready to serve whomever the LORD will send.”
I thought to myself, “Wow, what a gift her table will be.”
And then, I thought about all the other tables being prepared by women I love for their families.
I remembered holiday tables from days gone by, and suddenly I was overcome with gratitude.
Each meal was planned, prepared, and served out of gracious, giving hearts.
There’s a verse in Proverbs about generosity.
When I pour out my love over a pot on the stove, it’s a gift.
When my kids are quiet and stuffing their faces with a favorite dish I’ve made, all the work is worth it.
It’s my gift to them.
Seeing smiles and hearing sounds of enjoyment are their gifts to me.
The table becomes a place of thanksgiving & refreshment.
I’m looking forward to enjoying my mother-in-law’s table for Thanksgiving. There are a few key foods I will be searching for, like her dressing, and I know she’ll deliver. (Maybe I can persuade her to give up the real recipe for her biscuits since the one she gave me isn’t quite the same…Oh. My. Word. her biscuits are good.)
In honor of the women in my family, I’ll be posting short stories and sharing some of their special recipes during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season because food is at the center of my best holiday memories.
I’m calling this series A Table of Thanksgiving, a legacy of food & family.
I hope you enjoy, and maybe you’ll be inspired to make a special dish or create a new one for your holiday table.