About Me

Kentucky, United States
Fourth generation beef producer, wife, mother, 4-H & FFA supporter, agriculture advocate, Christian, WKU alum, love livestock shows, basketball, college football, Dallas Cowboys. All things agriculture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

     This week we celebrate one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving! It is a very meaningful holiday with less pressure and expectation than Christmas, unless of course you are the cook, and anyone that's ever cooked for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter knows the pressure you can put on oneself!! That pressure is so overstated though because as a family member or guest, all anyone really cares about is being with family and friends, sharing a meal, and making memories. I've always felt as farmers, it's a time to be thankful for the harvest and year's successes, and mindful of God's blessings of a warm home filled with food and family for the coming winter months.
     As a child, our Thanksgivings always began with Daddy leaving very early morning for Franklin, Kentucky or Westmoreland, Tennessee to meet with his brothers for their annual hunting trip. As my brother and male first-cousins grew older they were invited to join. I remember the stories of the long walks for the short, younger legs, missed shots, and of course the ones that got away. We would have dinner with Mama's family that evening, always cooked by my grandmother with Mama's help.Those were perfect for any kid growing up in rural Kentucky.
     It was tradition that we sold our tobacco crop on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so even though I had friends who spent the holiday in the tobacco barn, we were sure to be done with the crop by then because Daddy and Pappaw would take it to the warehouse either the week before or the beginning of Thanksgiving week (if my memory is correct). Being at the tobacco warehouse on sale day was a big deal for me because Pappaw would sit me on the first basket of our crop during the auction and it was so much fun as the buyers and auctioneer stopped at each basket, bidding while they looked through the hand-tied leaves.
     If there were "Black Friday" sales in the late 1960's and through the 1970's I certainly never knew about it. It was a much simpler time with farm kids and families working on the farm stripping tobacco, or cleaning the barn getting ready for next year's crop. There would also be the daily chores of feeding which at that time of the year meant feeding the weaned calves and maybe taking hay to the beef cattle in the pasture if needed. I remember watching the Macy's Parade, but spending the entire day inside just wasn't normal for kids then. My brother, Mike, and I played endless basketball games at the house with him being Kareem Abdul Jabbar and I was Wilt Chamberlain, both very prominent NBA players. We had two hoops, one about 5 feet tall on the inside of the garage door and a regular basketball goal behind the house, with grass and dirt, no concrete or asphalt for us....or anyone else in those days. I would yell "Wilt" when I shot and Mike would say "Jabb-a-r" really stretching it out as he would shoot a hook shot, over my head and of course scoring. He's only 5 years older than me but that's a great difference in height when I was 10 and he was 15!
     Now, I look upon Thanksgiving with as much anticipation as I did as a kid. We are very talkative Southern women so the kitchen is full of fun and laughter. I think of a warm house with the most delicious, comforting aromas, including that wood stove in Mama and Daddy's den.  I'm sure no matter how much I try I'll never be able to cook a turkey or country ham as well as my Nanny or Mama. Mama still holds the reins over the holiday meals and I love her for it. She has followed the apron strings of many great Ross family cooks from decades past. My Nanny and Pappaw have been gone for 18 and 27 years respectively, but their memories are as vivid as if it were yesterday.
      My husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and my brother and his wife will celebrate their 32, both on the same date next June. We have been blessed with wonderful, healthy children and families and even though we have other family gatherings to attend we always end up at Mama and Daddy's with a wonderful meal, kids playing, a little football game or movie watching, but mainly just being together, enjoying our many blessings from God, and making memories. Of course our weekend will also include time spent at the barn halter-breaking calves.

An early November sunrise over a soybean field on our farm.

     I'm thankful for being blessed with a loving, healthy, fun, family. A husband with a love of agriculture, beef cattle, FFA, and pigs (had to include that for our close friends), and the desire to teach and encourage our youth to work in the agriculture industry. A beautiful daughter with the softest heart of anyone I know, but full of determination to follow every dream, most of which include agriculture! I'm very thankful she's making the trip home from graduate school in Texas!! A handsome son with a work ethic matched only by his grandfather and great-grandfather, paired with a meets-no-strangers personality. He too has that love of agriculture.
     I want to wish all our family and many friends living in all corners of this great United States of America a very Happy Thanksgiving. Many are facing sickness or dealing with the loss of loved ones this year and know that you are in our prayers.
     To those readers I don't know, especially those in Germany, Russia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, I hope this post gives you a small image of our rural life, and I'm honored to have you as readers.

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