Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful for Neff Road

Wild turkeys now roam the countryside where once they were hunted and gone. The idea of hunting a turkey was about ancient to me as growing maize. It was a time of pilgrims and simplicity of life. Dad found our turkey looking much like a chicken only a few steps from the house.

The door would open and squeals of happiness erupted. Another Loxley girl was home for the holiday. Dad watched the lane for hours hoping to get the first glimpse of a daughter returning home. We didn't gather often enough. Many times one of us couldn't make it back for one reason or another. Yet this coming home is still something we cherish when we see each other again.

We were greeted with smells of Mom's baking and cooking. Pies sat in a row on the freezer in the garage. She tried to make our favorite pies. Mine was certainly shoo fly pie. We all loved her cream pies and pumpkin. The house was clean but Mom didn't spend time fussing on the house. She fussed in the kitchen and we reaped the benefits.

Our children once more became reacquainted tentative at first, best friends at last. Sisters piled into the bathroom for conversations long missed. Husbands found their way to the kitchen table or in the living room visiting with Mom and Dad. Exhausted from travel, we all settled into the womb once more.

I miss my parents deeply at these special times of the year. I miss that my children and grandchildren did not have enough of those experiences with my family. Oregon was just too far away. Distance didn't deter us from keeping the home fires burning. Mom and her daughters started writing a round robin letter keeping up on each other's lives with pictures, newsclips and other goodies making the rounds from Ohio to Indiana to Virginia to Oregon. My son decided that he wanted to keep the bond alive for the cousins since rarely did they see one another. For years the letter traveled from Oregon to Mom in Ohio to Indiana to Maryland to Colorado or wherever the cousin lived at the time. Mom loved the letters. They brought the family home again and again.

My sisters and I now email instead of round robin. That ended when we lost Mom. The cousins still try to keep theirs moving. Once it was lost and a new one took its place. They struggle to keep the cousins in their lives in spite of their busy lives.

The Loxley girls returned home again. Neighbors and relatives opened the doors and squeals rang again. Long visits over coffee and puzzles. Singing at the piano. Hugging and holding those we missed every day since we had moved to other places. We gathered around the table full of the bounty of the farm and the labor of Mother's hands. Dad blessed our meal and thanked God for these people we love.

Neff Road you are in my heart this Thanksgiving season. If I try real hard I can still smell Mom's chicken roasting full of her wonderful dressing and homemade noodles boiling in rich chicken broth. Once more I am home. Can you hear me squeal?

No comments: