Sherry Hopkins column

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 27, 2009

Get the picture? … by Sherry Hopkins

Expected unexpected must keep Dear Don off balance

“I need a Thanksgiving story,” I said as I solicited Dear Don. “I got nothing and deadlines are looming.”

“Well, just write what you’re thankful for. Isn’t that what it’s all about?” he asked.

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“Yes, it is and I am truly thankful for many, many things, not the least being you,” I added.

“So why can’t you write that?” he countered.

“Because that’s what you expect someone to write about at Thanksgiving, things they are thankful for.”

“And you being you, don’t ever want to do what is expected of you,” Dear Don said.

“Bingo, you got it.” I declared.

“Can’t help you” he told me, “I got nothing either.”

So I e-mailed my sister and asked her for stories from our glory days growing up in Memphis.

“I don’t remember a single Thanksgiving at our house,” I told her. “Do you remember anything that stands out?”

“No,” she said. “We never had Thanksgiving at home, Daddy was always away hunting whatever it is you hunt at Thanksgiving.”

Well, that explains the lack of memories. There were none.

Now what?

I keep thinking…..nothing. My sister sent me e-mails throughout the day telling me little tidbits of things she does remember about going here and there to relatives for the holiday.

We went outside Clarksdale to my Aunt Jane’s parents’ house. They were the Josés and they lived in a wonderful, big white house. They were lively, lovely gregarious people with lots and lots of good food. You could have seconds and thirds of anything you wanted. That was a real treat.

We went north to the Tennessee River where my Big Mama had settled in with her sister and brother-in-law. Their home was also big and open and the food was overflowing. There were lots of kids at the kids’ table. Probably one of the last times all the aunts and uncles and cousins were together to celebrate and not to mourn the death of a loved one. Most of those older folks have since died and just the cousins and their children are left and scattered to the four winds. We don’t get together anymore.

I remember one year making lasagna for Thanksgiving because my kitchen was too small to accommodate a real cooked dinner. It didn’t seem like Thanksgiving.

I remember leaving the neck and giblets in the turkey one time and being embarrassed when they were exposed during the carving.

I remember many Norman Rockwell moments from television commercials and wishing at the time that my family were closer to me.

I also remember later thinking Norman Rockwell moments hardly ever live up to the hype.

I remember my first deep fried turkey. I can still taste it today.

I remember that my son cooked it for our dinner and what a wonderful day it was.

So those are my bits and pieces of Thanksgiving. I’m sure the moment I hit send on this story and call it a day, I will no doubt remember something significant.

And because Dear Don won’t expect me to do the expected, here are the things I am thankful for:

•My husband whom I’ve loved forever and will continue to love infinitely.

•My precious son, his beautiful family and the joy they bring me.

•My sister and her family and the relationship we enjoy.

•Our good health and may it continue.

•The unusual but interesting year I’ve had being a bum.

•My neighbor, S.C. Sullivant, who is always helping us out of jams.

And lastly I’m thankful that when this amazing, trying, difficult, extraordinary journey of life ends I will have an eternal home to go to and a forgiving Savior to welcome me.

You get the picture.

(Contact Sherry at