My mother had three sisters, Wardie, Marguerite and Dot, and a brother, Grady, and they would all usually congregate at my grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving. I loved it, playing outside with all my cousins and inhaling the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen.
No one loved it more than my grandfather, the head of the family we all knew as Grandpa Pitt. On Thanksgiving Day, he held court, his arms folded and a smile on his face as all his children and grandchildren paid homage to him. On Thanksgiving Day, he was truly “King of Vivian.”
It was never really cold in northwest Louisiana. Still, by Thanksgiving Day tree leaves had all turned red and gold and there was usually a nip in the air that went well with the nip of excitement the holiday brought with it.
What I remember most are the post-dinner conversations that always took place outside on the back porch if the weather was warm, or in my grandparent’s bedroom if it was too cold outside. What I remember is the sound level caused by four sisters and a brother, all talking at once and not one of them seeming to notice, or care.
My Grandma Pitt would be lying on the bed, contentment showing on her otherwise stoic face. My Grandpa Pitt would sit on the edge of his old cane rocker, occasionally interjecting a comment into the raucous conversation. Whenever he raised his hand the room would go ghostly quiet, waiting for his latest regal pronouncement.
My Aunt Artie, Uncle Grady’s wife, would usually join in the melee but not my Dad Jack and Uncles Frank, Henry and Bert. They would be standing together in the tiny kitchen, their arms folded and knowing expressions on their faces. They had all been there before.
Those days are long gone, as are my grandparents, all my uncles, my mother and one of my aunts. Dot, Marguerite and my Dad are still alive, all with their own grandchildren and great-grandchildren now. Still, when I see a turkey emerging from the oven and smell the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen, I think of Grandpa Pitt, the first and the last “King of Vivian.”