Family, Food and Football

Posted on November 26, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

For many years we missed celebrating Thanksgiving with family. While overseas we would try to gather with missionary colleagues to give some semblance of gathering with family for this unique American holiday. Seldom was turkey and trimmings available, so more often than not the meal consisted of rice and curry or goat sate. What a blessing it was to enjoy family and host the extended clan for Thanksgiving in our Mississippi home this year.

Our daughter and family are overseas, but she reported hosting the expatriate community in their Central Asian city. She obviously has her mother’s gift of hospitality as 20 adults and 15 children gathered at their house for a simulated American holiday experience. We were delighted to have Russell and Angela with Zachary, Joseph and Anna Grace and their two dogs from Nashville fill our house with noise and activity during the week.

Traditionally Bobbye’s family has Thanksgiving at her niece Ramona’s house in Jackson, but she is in South Africa bringing home their newly adopted daughter, Bella. Another neice’s family went to in-laws, but the remaining relatives gathered with us for the annual feasting and an afternoon of football. Sister Bettye brought the turkey and dressing with an array of vegetables, Robyn brought the sweet potato casserole and everyone contributed desserts. The first and second generation had the pleasure of the formal dining room while the younger ones were relegated to the family room and kitchen.

As an appropriate reaction to over-eating the guys became couch potatoes and retired to the man cave for an afternoon of football, leaving the clean-up to the ladies. The grandsons and cousins kept lively competition going at the pool table while a few of the older generation lapsed into afternoon naps on the leather sofa.

On Friday we enjoyed a drop-in visit from friends from Waco, Texas, Kevin and Stacy Johnson and their four children, Meredith, Elise, Luke and Lexia. We have been blessed to be involved with the Antioch movement which is mobilizing and sending students and missionaries to the nations, and Kevin serves as Director of Antioch Ministries International.

The grandsons are always willing to earn some money working in Papa’s yard when they come. A part of my long-range plan has been to plant some fruit trees this winter, but I dreaded the task of digging the holes in the concrete-like clay soil. Zachary readily accepted the task after bargaining for appropriate compensation and now the holes are prepared for planting! Happily no one was interested in the Black Friday shopping hassle and we were able to enjoy of a quiet, relaxing weekend of visiting and reflecting on the abundance of blessings the Lord has given us.

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