Be thankful for the memories

Published 1:35 pm Monday, November 15, 2021

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

You know Aunt Bethany from Christmas Vacation? Well, my family had its own Aunt Bethany in the form of my great aunt.

Each Thanksgiving, it’s only fitting that her name be the first thing that comes to mind because of what she meant to our holiday season, spending much of the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas with us.

Her name was Mabelle McCollum, and she was, well, herself. And each holiday, we all looked forward to her antics and the laughter she would bring to the dinner table or even the hours leading up to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

It could be her violently shaking salt in her hand to make sure it was coming out and then pouring it all over her entire plate (including salads… who salts salads?), or it could be her reaching for the salt shaker to add more and then knocking over a glass of wine to spill all over the table.

She would then move her food around on her plate, finally finding that exact perfect bite she was looking for, making her easily the slowest eater at the table… by a good amount of time. And my mom can take down some food pretty slowly, so that’s saying something.

Myself and my cousin, Morgan, both got a kick out of it, hysterically laughing at times as her and my grandfather (her brother) would fight to get to the table first so they could lay claim to the salt shaker.

This after each had their liquid encouragement as well.

And anytime my cousin or I would start joking around or giving her a hard time, she would wave her fork at us and say, “Y’all hush.”

These memories take me back all the way to when I was a kid. Whether it was my parents hosting Thanksgiving here or us traveling to visit my grandparents in Georgia, it was something we looked forward to each year.

We all knew the entertainment and family fun that would come along with the holidays. Needless to say, aunt Mabelle was the belle of the ball.

Sadly, Mabelle died in February 2020.

So as we head into our second Thanksgiving without her, it won’t be the same, but it makes me think back to those special memories we created.

She may not be making us laugh in person anymore, but our stories shared around the table each year always come back around to her and somehow we end up laughing as uncontrollably as we did before.

Those memories will last a lifetime, and should I be lucky enough to have kids one day, they’ll hear all about their great great aunt Mabelle, and I hope those stories will carry on for generations.

As we near Thanksgiving and Christmas, think about who your aunt Mabelle is. Think about what makes you most thankful, and cherish it.

Whether it’s someone drowning their food in salt or spilling a glass of wine all over the table, be grateful. And even if it is just sharing stories of old memories like we will, reminisce in that glory with a beaming smile of memories you will always hold dear to your heart.