Thanksgiving a special time in Ironton

Published 10:58 am Tuesday, November 25, 2008

As Thanksgiving approaches I always think back to my childhood and my memories of coming home to Ironton.

Because we moved away when I was only 4, the only time I would be in town in the winter was during the holidays. Things looked so different.

I remember the gray skies and dead trees and the cold. But the warmth of Grandma’s house made up for the gloomy outdoors.

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Dad would drive the family back to town and usually it was rather uneventful. But one year in the early to mid-1950’s, we drove into one of the worst snowstorms I can remember. A storm this severe was unusual so early in the season.

We drove into the blizzard halfway through Ohio. I recall it was dark and the snow was coming down so fast that the wipers had a hard time keeping the windshield clear. Dad was a good driver, but he really had his hands full this time.

He had to creep along the old two lane road (there were no interstate highways then) and I can remember being a little concerned about the whole situation.

We were late getting into town, but just thankful we got there at all. Getting into the house we just said our hellos and went to bed.

We were exhausted. I remember sleeping like a log.

Early on Thanksgiving morning, I woke up to the distinctive sounds of pots and pans downstairs in the kitchen. Grandma would be up before daybreak to begin the preparations for the day’s feast.

Drifting back off to sleep it wouldn’t be too long before I was awakened again, but this time it was the fantastic smells making their way up the old staircase and into my bedroom. This is one of my fondest memories of Grandma. I jumped out of bed with the excitement of a Christmas morning.

Going into the kitchen there was Grandma taking her pies out of the oven.

“Hi honey! Are you ready for breakfast?”

What a spread — eggs, bacon, fried apples and those unbelievable homemade biscuits. Even though she was working on Thanksgiving dinner, she would always take the time to fix us a great breakfast.

Grandma enjoyed cooking and she just seemed to be at ease even though she had so much going on at the same time.

Soon after breakfast, I remember a man coming to the door. He was a local hunter who would make his holiday rounds and our house was on his list. Grandpa would greet the man and pay for his order, usually three wild rabbits.

As I recall, he charged a dollar apiece. Grandpa would take care of cleaning them and then Grandma would take over.

We watched the Macy’s parade on television and the grown-ups talked about the latest happenings in town. And this is how the day would go, until Grandma called from the kitchen, “Wash up and come to the table.”

Entering the kitchen, it was a sight to behold. A beautiful table full of turkey, wild rabbits and every side dish you could imagine. The meals that she cooked were comparable to any of the finest gourmet chefs. And no Thanksgiving meal would be complete without her delicious pumpkin pies.

The next morning we would head back home. As we made our way down 2nd Street, I watched the city employees putting up Christmas decorations on top of the light posts. Even though I was melancholy, it was all right. I knew that I would always have these memories of Thanksgiving in Ironton.