Celebrating Thanksgiving

Posted on November 28, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

It has been the rare occasion over the last 50 years when we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with our extended families. Throughout the years we were overseas we had to alternate holidays with Bobbye’s family and mine during those infrequent holidays during our furloughs. Later, back in the States, we were able to gather with our own adult children for an occasional Thanksgiving or Christmas, but with growing numbers of grandchildren and their being scattered to the ends of the earth that is seldom possible.

Fortunately, we are blessed to be incorporated into Bobbye’s sister’s family gatherings now that we are down home in Mississippi. Bettye and Dick have usually hosted holiday events at their country home in Brookhaven, but now that the three daughters are grown with adult children of their own, the younger generation has assumed responsibility for family get-togethers.

Bobbye’s beauty is evidently genetic which is apparent from this picture with her sister and three beautiful nieces. Ramona (in the center) has made Thanksgiving a tradition at her house. Robyn (on the left) has laid claim to hosting Christmas dinner, and Rhonda, the oldest (blond on the right) hosts multiple family birthday celebrations through the year. We are trying to expand these traditions to hosting New Year’s Day at our house.

We found it was hard to infringe on the tradition of menu responsibilities to contribute to the Thanksgiving meal. Bettye insists on bringing the turkey and dressing, Robyn does the sweet potato casserole, Rhonda brings a vegetable and dessert and Ramona provides a salad and dessert. It was finally decided that we could contribute a ham each year along with Bobbye’s delicious cranberry salad. I’m also fortunate to marry into a family in which all the son-in-laws are football fanatics. Except for an interruption for the Thanksgiving prayer and serving instructions no one missed the action of the afternoon games.

However, we weren’t entirely exempt from the responsibility for Thanksgiving Dinner. We occasionally participate in a special chapel for international students at Mississippi College. In discussions about Thanksgiving it was suggested that we host a “simulated” Thanksgiving dinner for the group. We had 21, mostly students from China, in our home in early November but did have help with the meal from missionaries-in-residence, Jeff and Liesa Holeman. The students all agreed that the menu was rather interesting (most had never eaten turkey or pumpkin pie), though they were not at all reticent about in indulging our Thanksgiving delicacies.

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