First, apologies – No matter how many photos I take, you can’t begin to imagine the scope of this event. Three sisters, out of a family of ten brothers and sisters, gather the clan and provide a truly old fashioned Southern Thanksgiving on a large country estate. While the photos are mostly of food, the most important element of the gathering is the love that brings and binds this family together.
The weather was magnificent, allowing people to be inside and out, the kids out playing chase, football, exploring the grounds, sitting on the old swing, etc. Out in the way-back, men started shucking oysters for the pre-meal appetizers around 9 in the morning.
While the three sisters are pulling together all the last minute details, there is already an abundance of food to keep people nibbling while anticipating the main meal, served around 1:00 in the afternoon.
As people arrive, they bring more food – mashed potatoes, sweet potato casseroles, green beans, turnip greens, collard greens, creamed corn, creamed onions, all in slow cookers to keep them warm until dinner-time.
Meanwhile, things are heating up in the command center (kitchen) as time nears to get the food on the groaning tables:
Frying up turkey breast meat:
Usually, the men carve the turkeys – this year, a smoked turkey and a deep fried turkey:
Getting close to dinner time, people start gathering closer to the house:
Just before the dinner is served, the organizers thank the guests for coming and the food is blessed. Now here is where I really need to apologize – there are no dessert photos, and the desserts were magnificent. But once you have filled your place with turkey, dressing, vegetables, salads – and you have to take a little bit of everything so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings – then you need to sit a while before you think about dessert. Actually, I didn’t even have any room for dessert! So I missed out on taking dessert photos, and for that, I totally apologize.
Then, about an hour after dessert, the family photos are taken. First, all the surviving and attending brothers and sisters, then each family, with various children and their families attending. This tradition is a lot of fun, but takes another hour or so. At the very end, we take photos of the three sisters who spend weeks and hours organizing the annual event, coordinating all the food, cooking for days and cleaning up afterwards. These women are my heroes – it is an unbelievable amount of work, and they do it out of love for their family:
If you think I am crazy about sunrises (and I am) just wait until you see these sunsets. They are all minutes apart during the same sunset. I can’t watch a sunset and not have religious feelings – but see for yourself.
Just before sunset – can’t you almost hear the clink clink of those horseshoes hitting the metal pole?
Awesome – or what?
Photos from the local outdoor market: