When Nana Did Thanksgiving

Cynthia Herron Thankfulness 5 Comments

Image Credit: Liz West/PhotopinCC

Image Credit: Liz West/PhotopinCC

As a little girl, nothing excited me more than Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

Without a doubt, those were the three biggest holidays our family celebrated and occasions I remember the most.

Each holiday was marked with reverence and given it’s due.

There was never a question where our family would celebrate. It was better than any mall, shopping center, or money-making venue. Better than a  Black Friday sale that boasted once-in-a-lifetime bargains, and better than a getaway to the tropics or anyplace I could imagine.


It was Nana’s house—that beautiful, grand home built entirely of native stone and nestled within the old Ozark hills overlooking Route 66.

My grandmother’s home wasn’t especially fancy, but it was indeed unique. The massive two-story structure boasted comfy, cozy niches, built-in bookcases, and angled closets with mysterious passageways.

While I loved Nana’s home, I adored my Nana. She was gentle and sweet, and she had a servant’s heart.

I was thankful we lived only 18 miles away. It meant we saw her often.

Even so, our visits were always fun and Thanksgiving kick-started a new season of excitement.

“Will you make your creamed spinach, Nana?” I’d ask.

I knew she would, but I wanted that verbal reassurance. Nana’s trademark German recipe was my favorite part of the meal. With it’s rich, bacony taste and smooth, creamy texture, that spinach drew me a little closer to heaven. It made me think of God and all things good. That’s how scrumptious it was.

Nana would tweak my nose and laugh and then say something in German.

Of course, there was the traditional turkey, too. The gigantic bird that slow-cooked in the roaster all night long. The one Nana basted the old-fashioned way—every two hours.

Add to that: made-from-scratch dressing, candied yams, fresh cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, and the usual assortment of homemade pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies.

Conversation was fun and lively, and Thanksgiving dinner was an experience. A time of unity, bonding, and thankfulness. Sometimes, we’d linger at the table for hours.

Afterward, my sister and I would scamper away to play with our cousins. Later we might join Nana and the adults back at the table for a game of Monopoly and snacks.

We’d watch old movies and Christmas shows, and when it grew late, we’d slip into our footed PJs and cuddle with Nana on the couch.

Nana would stroke her grandchildren’s heads and take turns with kisses.

“Did you like today?”

Really? Didn’t she know?

“Yes, Nana. I loved today! This was the best Thanksgiving ever!”

And it was.

Until the next year. When I said the same thing—again.


I pray, dear friends, that your Thanksgiving this year is the best one ever.

I’m taking a blog break on Friday, but please join me again Monday.

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(If you liked this post, you might enjoy The Letters She Kept. )

Do you have a favorite memory from childhood?

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?


Happy Thanksgiving!

Much love and Blessings Always,

Comments 5

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Good morning! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, with fond memories rekindled and new ones formed.

    I have had a spot of bother in that a medical issue is preventing the recall of many memories from the past twenty-five years or so; if we had plans for this Thanksgiving I do not remember them.

    I do remember the best Thanksgiving I ever had, going back three decades, I think. I spent the day sitting with a very ill dog in my lap, and reading to him. The book was Nevil Shute’s “Round The Bend”, and the dog survived.

    I hope you will feel the presence of Christ at your dinner table tomorrow…and always.

  2. Post
    Cynthia Herron

    Andrew, thank you so much! I’ve been praying for you, my friend.

    What a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving memory! I appreciate your kind words and I want you and Barbara to know I’m sending good thoughts and continued prayers.

  3. Shelli Littleton

    We are going to a family member’s home, and we are bringing the dressing. The dressing recipe is my grandfather’s. All my favorite memories include my grandparents. 🙂

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Cynthia!

  4. Post
    Cynthia Herron

    Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving to you, Shelli!

    I bet your dressing will be delicious! Nana used to let her bread dry out for days when she made hers. I remember watching her chop the onion and celery—it took a while. She put so much love and effort into each and every thing she made. Sadly, my grandpa passed away before we grandchildren were born, but memories with my grandmother are some of my favorites.

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