Thanksgiving Thoughts From Down Under




I’ve been thinking about the Okie Thanksgivings of my youth in the 1960’s.

And Dying Down Here in New Zealand, where it is just not the same, turkey notwithstanding.

I really miss the “Turkeydays” of my youth, when you pulled the drapes shut tight to keep the bright sunlight out as you camped out in the living room, in front of the big, black-and-white TV, gorging on turkey and dressing and fixins piled THIS high on your TV tray.

Until you exploded.

Followed by punkin’ pie a la mode, watching Tom Landry’s Cowboys ALWAYS win, then, finally, undoing your belt, saying “waugghhhhh” like Buddy Hackett, and napping until dinner, the second NFL game, and the Charlie Brown TV special.

At least that’s what the menfolk did in the living room.  I have no idea what the womenfolk did out in the kitchen.  I guess they were eating and napping, too.


To this day, I have no idea what Mom used to make “cranberry sauce”.  And, please, do not tell me “cranberries”, because I just know that whatever it was, was ripped from the still-beating heart of some poor animal, then covered with Jell-o.

Still grossed out after all these years.

The magical 'turkey maker'.

The magical ‘turkey maker’.







I still wonder whatever happened to that huge, dark blue casserole pot thingee that Mom used to make THE BEST turkey and dressing.  That thing was worthy of a deep and abiding love, if not a large national monument.

Mom would pull to bits a couple of loaves of bread, pour in magic ingredients, saturate with love, shove it all up the turkey’s butt, cook for hours, and then, wa-la, the food angels would descend from Turkey & Dressing heaven.

I am not kidding when I say that this blog just salivated while thinking of Mom’s dressing.

Lawsy, lawsy, lawsy, I need a towel.

I miss Grandpa saying an actual, proper, heartfelt Prayer of Thanksgiving before the family tore into our big meal.

I miss Grandma Bertha being in perpetual motion, constantly bringing seconds, plus more dessert and coffee, and always kissing Grandpa on the head and me on the cheek on every trip from the kitchen.

Even after Thanksgiving Day came and went, I fondly remember continuing to gorge on turkey and dressing — including dressing sandwiches, nom, plus various fixins and cheese dip and dessert — right up until Christmas Eve.

At which point, the Wonderful Cycle of Magical Food would start again.

And at Christmas, it would feature my other Grandma, Moew, who was such a great cook that, even in her 70’s, the frat houses on the OU campus would annually get into a bidding war to convince her to cook for them.

Dying. Down. Here.

And drowning.

Where did I put my drool towel?

Anyway, today, this blog is thankful for our countless blessings that include our  home, our talented musical son, our wider family, the Crack Puppy, and the huge Thanksgiving BBQ the in-laws are holding on Friday.

I’m thankful that my U.S.-based sisters and nieces and nephews will soon gorge on wonderful, home-made Thanksgiving food, which they will lovingly photograph and put on Facebook, killing me dead, and prompting me to cut them all OUT OF THE WILL.

But mainly, I am thankful that God is loving and merciful, despite what the crazies say.

And the blog wishes all y’all on the top side of the equator a very happy Thanksgiving.

Just, please, this year, refrain from putting all the food pictures on Facebook.

You’re killing me.

Click HERE for more Okie memories from Down Under…



4 Responses to “Thanksgiving Thoughts From Down Under”

  1. Nova Hornback says:

    Bill, I also know the feeling of missing Oklahoma & all the holiday traditions here. We were an AF family for twenty years traveling around. Once while living in Okinawa I was so glad that my oldest two kids were at school & that the two little ones were taking a nap. The radio was on & I heard for the first time Bobby Gentry singing ‘Ode To Billie Joe’. I sat down at the kitchen table & cried for an hour!! The way she sings the song, it is a farm family getting ready for dinner, someone says, be sure and wash your hands, picking cotton, bailing hay, and all the rest while they just discuss everyday things sounded just like my Wynnewood, OK farm family before we all moved to town. It made me so homesick. It’s on utube if you need a good cry. Thanks for the neat stories! Nova Hornback

    • hams says:

      Thanks for your nice comments, Nova. Bobbie Gentry was indeed awesome. Her simple but powerful lyrics always brought back memories for me, too. “And Mama hollered out the back door ‘y’all remember to wipe your feet'”. Out of curiosity, did you know Pat and Frank Ryan when you were in Wynnewood? I think they were our third cousins. Loved to visit their place and fill gunny sacks with pecans!

  2. J-P says:

    I am never sure if I am in or out of the will….so tomorrow is another day. And the Turkey Day feast was kind of awesome!!!


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