At Thanksgiving in the forties
We'd pile into our old blue Ford
And drive the narrow highways
Two hundred miles to western Oklahoma
And the rugged hills along the South Canadian
To immerse ourselves in family.
There I roamed the pastures with my cousins,
Tracking quail, potshotting prairie dogs,
Picking up arrowheads atop the bluffs.
And at dinnertime we feasted,
Mountains of turkey with giblet dressing,
Gravy, biscuits, home-canned beans,
And more pies and cakes on a single table
Than I'd see in a year at home.
But it wasn't all about the food . . .
Far more important was the talking,
And for us younger ones, the listening
As our elders told about the old times
As if these things had happened yesterday.
And then my Uncle Ralph on fiddle
And his son Pete on a worn guitar
Would play a hoedown or maybe two
Just to show they still could do.
At night, cats, collies, cows, coyotes,
All danced a jig through happy dreams
As I snuggled under Aunt Esther's quilts,
Patched together from worn-out jeans,
Just like my memories of that time and place,
Are patched together now from my old brain,
Anxious still that nothing good will go to waste.