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Column: Preparing for Thanksgiving
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

Is there anything better than sharing a good meal?

I don’t care if it is a properly prepared burger off the grill or something a bit more fancy, good conversation and fellowship is perfected with an appetizing spread.

I love the Thanksgiving meal. Let me clarify that, I love the Southern Thanksgiving meal. 

Over the past few years, I have built some wonderful friendships with folks from up north. I’m afraid we might find ourselves going in different directions on Thanksgiving.

For example, folks up north serve up chewy, rubbery green beans. If they had “Good Year” stamped on them, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Then, there is that Thanksgiving favorite, dressing. Folks up north like stuffing. There is no evidence in the Bible that Jesus ever ate stuffing. Of course, there is no evidence he ever ate cornbread dressing.

I remember a poem that someone wrote about Jesus:

If Jesus came to your house, to spend a day or two. If he came without warning, I wonder what you’d do?

First of all, I would not serve him stuffing or rubberized green beans.  I wish I could make fried chicken like my daddy and yeast rolls like Mrs. Velma Breedlove used to make.  My daddy would cut up a whole chicken and cook it in Crisco in a cast-iron frying pan. Velma Breedlove has been gone for several years, but I can still remember how good those rolls were.

I’d serve up a sweet potato souffle, either Sen. Dick Russell’s recipe or one that has been passed around from Southern Living magazine. My mother-in-law makes some mighty fine dressing. It is also made in a cast iron frying pan.

I went way out in the weeds, let me come back.

I think what I like about Thanksgiving is we usually get together with family. Folks bring in a covered dish with something that is their specialty. We eat, we talk and we remember.

This year is going to be different. We are not going to get together. That’s the element of Thanksgiving you can’t replicate. Yes, you can get a Tupperware bowl of somebody’s culinary delight, but you can’t hear stories about family or friends. We can’t bottle fellowship.

We also can pull out the good silverware and china. That’s a hat tip to my mama. She grew up during the Depression without table finery and insisted that the Thanksgiving meal be served on the best we had. She also insisted that we wear clean underwear in case we were in a wreck. That’s a column for another day.

In the Bible, it also talks about Jesus drinking wine. In fact, his very first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding. 

My wife can turn tap water, sugar and some tea bags into some of the finest sweet tea this side of the Mason-Dixon line. I’d serve the good Lord a tall crystal glass of her tea, and I think he would like it just fine.

Despite my best preparations, I don’t anticipate Jesus will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner. I do wish he would perform a miracle of helping some of the vaccines in development work to eliminate this COVID-19.

We’ll be sure to ask him when we gather around the kitchen to return thanks. You be sure and ask him, too.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the weekend Life page and on