A Virginia Thanksgiving

As I looked down over the valley below, I sighed. How beautiful it looked from the side of the mountain. This is home, I mused. My dad's father grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I always felt my roots were planted deep in the Virginia soil.

I never spent the holidays there but grandpa told me many stories. A huge turkey dominated the dining room table. Candles were everywhere. Roast duck, country ham, salad, sweet potato casserole and mincemeat pie added to the feast. The neighbors always brought over a bottle of spirits which the men shared while the women cooked, served and cleaned up. Each Thanksgiving two or three families gathered at the house to give thanks and celebrate a successful harvest.

"It was a tradition," grandpa reminisced. "Never saw nothing like it in the North. They just don't do the holidays the right way up here," he insisted. "You want something special for the holidays," he'd say, "go south."

Our family went south many summers over the years, but never made it in November or December. I often wondered why grandpa didn't go south for the holidays. I asked him one Thanksgiving and he just shrugged his shoulders, saying, "They're gone. Most of them are gone. The rest are here. No sense in going," he'd say. "Wouldn't be the same. But you, girl, you got to go back some day."

I often think about going but at my age it's unlikely. All through my childhood and adolescence I vowed I would make Blue Ridge country my home. Life sometimes gets in the way of our dreams. Every holiday season I get a longing to revisit my roots but the longing remains in my heart. As grandpa would say, "They're all gone." And, of course, this is my home now. Still, a girl can dream.

Dianne Borowski lives in Bay Village.

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Volume 2, Issue 23, Posted 11:36 PM, 11.13.2010