There is no better time of year to think of grandparents than Thanksgiving.

I grew up in Southwest Virginia, and every year, we would sit in traffic as we made the six, or more, hour trek to my Grandma’s house that would begin after my dad finished work that Wednesday. It was past bedtime when we arrived, but there was always milk and cookies for my sister and me before we were sent upstairs to the old feather tick bed my uncles’ grew up in. Before our eyes were open by the sunshine, you could smell the smells of cooking food coming up those old wooden stairs from Grandma’s kitchen. She thought everything should be cooked early and left out to sit. As the day lengthened, no tummy’s growled (we were still stuffed from breakfast), but the preparations began. The tables were set and we were allowed to gather field flowers, otherwise known as flowering weeds, to fill the vases. The kids’ table sat low, with folding chairs, and jelly jar glasses for the cooling sweet tea. I would dip my fingers in the honey bowl, unable to wait for the fresh yeast rolls they would adorn. In came my aunt and uncle, my cousins in tow, to this one bathroom cinderblock house that somehow absorbed us. (Even when my grandfather was in a hospital bed in the cramped living room, somehow the house absorbed us.) Hands were washed, often outside at the water buffalo, my dad filled the wood burning furnace, and all hands were held tightly for the blessing said by one of the men.

Thanksgiving, for me, will always bring memories of Grandma Davis’ house. Now that I am a grandparent, I love planning out the special items I cook for just our grandchildren and look forward to our own walk in the fields to gather weeds for the table.

Written by Danielle Simone