Thanks­giv­ing mem­o­ries

The Covington News - - Sunday Living - Beth Rowe may be reached at opieorowe@att.net.

Thanks­giv­ing has al­ways been spe­cial for me. My par­ents came from big fam­i­lies, but in spite of the nu­mer­ous aunts, un­cles and cousins, we were and still are very close. A lot of fam­i­lies don’t get to­gether much, if at all any­more and barely know their ex­tended fam­i­lies. Grow­ing up, we didn’t need a hol­i­day or spe­cial oc­ca­sion to get to­gether. Ev­ery Sun­day af­ter lunch, we piled into the car or truck and went to Mama Parker and Granny Stapp’s house to visit. Af­ter my grand­moth­ers passed on, some won­dered whether we’d still to get to­gether but I knew my grand­moth­ers would ex­pect us to, so the plan­ning has been passed on to me to en­sure it is car­ried on. Granted, it isn’t quite the same with­out our grand­moth­ers pres­ence, but their spirit is still very much alive and hardly a day goes by I don’t think of them.

Hol­i­days were al­ways ex­tra spe­cial be­cause it was a cel­e­bra­tion of life and a hol­i­day. Easter marked Mama Parker’s birth­day and Thanks­giv­ing also marked Granny Stapp’s birth­day on Nov. 24. Granny Stapp was mother of 13 chil­dren, 6 of which were twins, 15+ grand­chil­dren, 32+ great grand­chil­dren and 26 great­great grand­chil­dren. My Granny was the best Granny on earth and she em­bod­ied what many en­vi­sion a Granny to be — a gen­tle, sweet and beau­ti­ful woman in­side and out who al­ways wore dresses and her long hair pulled up and twisted in a bun on her head. I was al­ways in awe of her sim­ple faith, wis­dom, pa­tience and love and as I grew older she be­came much more than just a granny to me, she was my very best friend in the whole world. Granny had a way with chil­dren, pets, plants and flow­ers and her house was filled with plants as was her front porch and yard. The most im­por­tant thing she taught me was to love ev­ery­body and ev­ery­thing and to ap­pre­ci­ate the sim­ple things in life. I was blessed that she lived to share the birth of my two chil­dren.

When I got mar­ried, I gained two more grand­moth­ers who quickly found a spe­cial place in my heart. Both were very spe­cial in their own ways and I learned a lot from them, too, and more spe­cial mem­o­ries were born. Fourth of July also marked Maw Maw’s birth­day and Thanks­giv­ing also marked Mom Ketchem’s birth­day on Nov. 27. Mom Ketchem was full of wis­dom, faith and pride, and it showed in ev­ery­thing she be­lieved in. Mom was proud of her fam­ily, her home, her coun­try and her faith and went to great lengths to pass that sense of pride on to oth­ers. Mom set a fine ex­am­ple for oth­ers by work­ing well into her 70s, eat­ing healthy and ex­er­cis­ing and keep­ing her mind sharp by read­ing the Bi­ble, Na­tional Geo­graphic, Newsweek and Read­ers Di­gest. Mom lived a full life, al­ways stay­ing busy whether it was work­ing, trav­el­ing or tak­ing care of her home and those she loved. She was a strong woman whose faith and love touched and in­spired many.

There was also one very spe­cial aunt, Miss Naomi Gene Ketchem, who touched not only my life but many oth­ers through her love. Aunt Gene was smart, funny and lov­ing but her faith in­spired me most. Aunt Gene was spe­cial — she was born with spe­cial needs but she didn’t al­low them to limit her to liv­ing life to its fullest and serv­ing God first and fore­most in all she did.

Each of my grand­moth­ers were won­der­ful cooks in their own right — I don’t think any­body made bet­ter chicken stew and dress­ing than my Mama Parker and she al­ways made two big pans. Mam Maw was more than will­ing to share her ‘se­cret recipes’ with me, but no­body made di­vin­ity candy like hers. Mom Ketchem al­ways made mince­meat and pump­kin pies for Thanks­giv­ing and her yeast rolls were noth­ing short of heaven. She even taught her son Paul to make them but no­body topped her fried chicken, not even Colonel San­ders.

We were all blessed to have grand­moth­ers and great grand­moth­ers who showed us what love re­ally is and I am thank­ful God al­lowed them to live long enough to be such a big part of their lives. I count my bless­ings ev­ery day but on Thanks­giv­ing I stop to thank God for His love — be­cause that’s where it all starts but the most spe­cial part is that it never ends.

May you and yours have a Blessed Thanks­giv­ing!

Beth Rowe

Colum­nist

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