Going South, Down Memory Lane!
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him; bless His name!” Psalm 100:4
Thanksgiving in the Black family, in North Carolina was a time when families would visit one another without calling, and when baking 10 and 20 cakes, and pies were the norm. But my mother and father never let their nine children never forget one of his favorite sayings, “We need to thank the Lord everyday of the year, and not just on Thanksgiving Day!”
Living back home, North Carolina on a farm near Kinston; my mother Evangelist Fannie Estelle Hill Grant, one of the greatest cooks in North Carolina, would bake 15 cakes, all homemade. She made coconut cakes from fresh coconut. She would have my father crack the coconut with his hammer, and she would grate the coconut.
Mama, like other mothers, made chocolate cakes, pineapple cakes, banana cakes; she made banana pudding and grated sweet potato pudding. Sometimes, my sister and I would grate the sweet potatoes and the fresh coconut; she baked about 10-15 sweet potato pies.
The turkey was always fresh. No hormone-infused meats for my family. The vegetables included fresh collard greens, right out the garden. Everything was fresh and delicious! Everyone gained weight, but soon lost the weight due to hard work. During the fall, we picked cotton, and we had lots of rigorous outdoor activities -- even if it was just for fun. We enjoyed playing the Miss Liza Jane game.
We enjoyed playing games together. At night, Miss Liza Jane was very popular on our list of games. The oldest boy, Benjamin Jr., would always sing the song while all the children huddled around. We would gently hold hands and skip toward Miss Liza Jane, as we sang… “I’m going to see Miss Liza Jane, Miss Liza Jane, Miss Liza Jane, I’m going to see Miss Liza Jane, so early in the morning.”
We would run like crazy, laughing, but filled with fear, hearts racing, screaming, because Miss Liza Jane would come up out the grave to chase us! It was a lot of fun. Miss Liza Jane growled and chased after us!
That’s how life was for me 50 years ago, fun and exciting. Today, I find myself thinking of helping others; putting forth as much effort as I can, to help somebody along the way. I look forward to serving the homeless at my church, All Nations Baptist Church on Thanksgiving Day. My pastor, the Reverend Dr. James Coleman has asked the congregation to help prepare food and serve the homeless this year.
I close with this poem, author unknown: It reads, “Outside my window, a new day I see, and only I can determine what kind of day it will be. It can be busy and sunny, laughing and gay or boring and cold, unhappy and gray. My own state of mind is the determining key, for I am only the person I let myself be. I can be thoughtful and do all I can to help, or be selfish and think just of myself.
I can enjoy what I do and make it seem fun, or gripe and complain and make it hard on someone. I can be patient with those who may not understand or belittle and hurt them as much as I can. But I have faith in myself, and I believe what I say, and I personally intend to make the best of each day.”
Bless His name. Scriptures says, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;” Psalm 92:1. Make the best of your day…Happy Thanksgiving.
Call Lyndia Grant at 202-518-3192 to register for the “Choosing Your Future” – Free Seminar, scheduled for Sat., Nov. 27 from 1-5 p.m., at the Benning Road Library.