Home for the Holidays

Home has so many derivations—the place you grew up, the place where your mom and dad are, the place you live or a gathering of people you choose to be in your life and create your own distinctive family.

For me, growing up and still well into middle age, going home was going â€~down home.â€TM Itâ€TMs where my great-grandmother Belle lived, gardened and on Sunday made pies and fried chicken. When she passed, it was still the place our family gathered together for Thanksgiving. The place had a strong pull. Even as a surly teenage girl, it was where I wanted to be. One Thanksgiving, despite the weather forecast of an incoming blizzard, my folks opted to make the drive from Massachusetts to Ohio. It turned out we got snowbound in the Poconos at some fancy resort. Instead of enjoying the rare luxuries of a hotel with all the amenities, I pouted about missing Thanksgiving at the family table. Even a phone call from my beloved grandfather didnâ€TMt quell the disappointment.

Itâ€TMs been a long time since that missed Thanksgiving. There have been many more where I havenâ€TMt made it â€~homeâ€TM, but Iâ€TMve always been with family. One of my most special Thanksgivings was helping create the first Thanksgiving for some newly arrived friends from South Africa. Instead of cranberry sauce it was peri-peri!

This year for the first time my parents, both of my brothers and their families and some adopted family will be coming to our house for Thanksgiving. Iâ€TMll introduce them to some traditional Southern food, but most of all weâ€TMll enjoy each otherâ€TMs company and feel blessed for being together.

I hope you make it home this holiday season!

Lisa Shively