Are you waking up to the buttery aroma of turkey in the oven? Is the air spiced with cinnamon and brown sugar as it crusts upon the sweet potato casserole?

I hope so. It's Thanksgiving Day and it's one of my most favorite holidays.

This most American of celebrations brings back the best of memories for me. I hope you'll pause a few moment over your morning coffee to think about yours.

n My mother loved Thankgiving so much she'd set the table days before with linen tablecloth, linen napkins, silver, china and crystal.

n Our family Siamese cat, Earl, was a reasonably well-behaved fellow except on Thanksgiving, when for some reason the oven smell of the roasting turkey absolutely drove him so wild that we had to throw him out the back door to spend his feast day among the blue jays and squirrels on the patio.

n One year, we had a family member who aggressively took on the responsibilty for saying grace. This person began most traditionally with appropriate thanks, then began to list all the reasons for our gratefulness. After what seemed like several minutes of bowed heads and solo listings, I slowly looked up and across the table to see my young children and others starting to do the same - raised eyebrows and lips tightly pursed to hold back the giggles I could see coming. I actually believe at some point someone, perhaps my hungry mother, interrupted the litany to say her own brief thanks and Amen. Whew! Let's eat.

n The year my father went sentimental about sweet potatoes, which he recounted as a staple for his and his poor siblings' lunches in their humble Amite County schoolroom back before recorded history. If that weren't sad enough, he went on to list at least 34 ways to prepare sweet potatoes. It sounded something like Bubba in "Forrest Gump," who recited almost endlessly the ways to prepare shrimp.

Last Saturday, I ventured over to my son's in Oxford and interrupted his studying while I made the cornbread dressing. While my mother was foresighted to have left me a recipe, my own blunders have brought me a better sense of the appropriate consistency, which for the uninitiated is "very soupy." I'm sure Will and Margaret dread being around me during this process because I always call to them with, "Come take a look at this - you need to know what it looks like."

And now, as you read this, I'm scurrying about making sure we're on track with the baking schedule, which I completed Wednesday night - what goes in and out of the oven and when, to ensure it's all ready pretty much around the same time.

The ubiquitous green bean casserole, Sweet Potato Queen casserole, dressing and gravy, brined and smoked turkey, Southern pickle and olive plate, corn, my brother-in-law's crab salad, my favorite cranberry salad, cranberry sauce, iced tea, rolls, oatmeal cookies and key lime pie.

Is there any wonder we'll all have to take a nap by 2 p.m.?

A joyful, happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Patsy R. Brumfield is news editor of the Daily Journal and loses all notions of her diet today. Contact her at 678-1596 or

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