From the time Mama came to my bedroom in the morning announcing, Time to get up! until I fell alseep on our couch and heard, Go to bed, Mary Lou, my days as a child were safe and warm with no added stress, except for school studies. It wasn't like I had any regular chores to do (I did have to keep my room cleaned up.) or places to be, except for school or church. My mom simply thought a person should not sleep their days away. I wasn't enrolled in other activities like dance or gymnastics to occupy my time. I made up games to play by myself or went outside and found other friends to play with. I led a rather carefree existance with no regularly scheduled activites other than being a kid. I am thankful for my mother who, daily, made sure I got up, dressed and encouraged me to find activites to do on my own.
My daddy had already lit the space heater in my bedroom by the time I woke up on cold days. As I placed my feet on the area rug next to my bed, the room and wood floor felt warm. (I would love to have those wood floors in my house today. There was not enough appreciation of those floors on my part back then. ) Putting on a robe, I'd go into the warm, cozy kitchen. If I didn't have anything on my feet, mom scowled and said, you go get some socks on those feet. This floor is cold, for she thought a child could catch a cold from walking barefoot on winter cold floors. One was never to argue with Mama either, because...well, it just never crossed my mind to argue with her. She was right and that as that. My daddy did his best to make all of us comfortable on chilly mornings adjusting heaters. He made sure all the space heaters were lit and warming the rooms even before we got out of bed. I am thankful my mama and daddy loved and cared enough for me and my brothers to get up earlier than anyone to warm up our house.
As I grew up, mornings at my house were always spent in the kitchen at the breakfast table. Only on Saturday mornings could my brother and I turn on the TV in the living room before breakfast. Not on school days or church mornings were we allowed to watch TV because my mother implied that we didn't need to be distracted. Now, I think it was a brilliant plan for our family's day to start off together around the breakfast table. There was not a time I can recall eating breakfast in front of the television in our living room. At my house, one always ate breakfast, every morning, in the dining room. That was an unspoken rule and not the exception. Some of my favorite memories are sitting around the table, with my brothers and daddy, enjoying a hot breakfast on cold winter mornings. Mama, wearing her apron over her houserobe, was typically in the kitchen cooking breakfast and serving her family. We'd sit down to either eggs with bacon or sausage, perhaps hotcakes (as we called them) or oatmeal with toast. If we had biscuits, they were PIllsbury canned bisuits from the grocery store. Most of the time there was orange juice, not freshly squeezed, but like the bisuits from the grocery store, the juice was canned Texsun brand or a frozen tube of orange concentrate Mom mixed with water. The tartness of that orange juice made my cheeks cave in. Sometimes, I'd get to have hot chocolate with my breakfast, but if I had a score throat, Mom let me sip a little cup of coffee. Such a funny thought to let a child sip hot coffee for a sore throat, not because she thought it would bring healing, but for the warmth and soothing powers the hot coffee offered at the moment. That's a good memory! I feel safe and warm just reminiscing about that little dining room on a brisk, chilly moring. My mom was an unintentional role model for me to observe serving the needs of family or guests in our home. She simply did what came naturally to her. I am so thankful for those mornings spent around the breakfast table and the love my mother gave me.
My daddy did a lot of renovating to that old 1940's house from the time we moved in, around 1957, until I went off to college in 1970 and probably some after that. Basically a two-bedroom house, with one small bath (with a wonderful claw-foot tub), a nice sized kitchen with only a breakfast booth to eat our meals and a screened-in back porch with a little room off to side was what our family of 5 shared. I can remember moving during the summer to our new home. We loved it! It was old and needed a lot of work, but my daddy was an expert in carpentry, house painting and anything else it took to make our house more functional for our family. The kitchen table was moved out to the screened back porch as there was no other place for it inside of the house. The kitchen had a booth much like a diner and we had to add an extra chair at the end to fit us all around it. So, most of our meals were eaten at the table on the back porch. However, that meant every bowl of food or dish had to be taken from the kitchen around through the back door and out on the porch. Most of the time we filled our plates from the pots on the stove and it accomplished the need for a place to eat. But Mama wanted a place inside of the house to eat our meals. Daddy removed the breakfast nook, cut a door to the porch for our new dining room and replaced the porch screens with walls and windows in no time. Our dining room would serve to be the hub of our home for many years to come. Daddy also remodeled the extra little room on the back porch to be a third bedroom complete with a window, closet and interior door. It became one of my two brothers' bedroom at different times and later a place where my children would sleep in the baby crib Mama put in just for them.
One summer, while Mama and I were at the church camp, Daddy took vacation days to tear out the old fireplace which was of no use anymore. He also took off the cool front porch I would use as my stage or doll house when I was younger. The living room was extended out several feet, a new front porch with ground-level cement sidewalks were also added to the front of the house. My daddy did all the work himself except for some help from his buddies with the fireplace demo. There wasn't a room inside or out of that house my daddy didn't work on. He was our plumber, painter, carpenter, roofer and car mechanic. My daddy was not shy to show his affection for us and often, I was kissed good bye before I left for school with goodnight hugs at bedtime. He also showed his love for us by providing and maintaining our house. I am thankful that my daddy had the talent and skills to make our house a comfortable home not just because he could, but because he loved us.
As I remember my childhood, my parents, our old house, their sacrifices and work done just so my brothers and I would have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, I am very thankful. I am thankful for God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who have been with me from the day I was born caring, loving and making the ultimate sacrifice for my sins. I am thankful that God chose to place me in such a loving enviornment with parents who worked hard and raised us to love Jesus. I am thankful to give thanks for all of this and much, much more this Thanksgiving Day.
Happy Thanksgiving! 2015