I remember our dogs growing up, Joe & Brownie, singing the most excited little doggy song as we rounded the corner of the quarter mile long driveway. Each visit their melody would begin a little bit sooner, until finally they started the moment we exited on the Collierville, TN exit.
This Thanksgiving was more emotional for me than usual. Matt & I drove down from Louisville to my grandparents’ farm in Collierville, where we met up with my Mom, Gramman, Aunt Kay & her new boyfriend.
The farm has been in our family for over 100 years now. An absolutely breathtaking, 300 acre farm that helped my Grandma survive the Great Depression. A few years after she and my grandpa married, they bought the farm from her mother & my Granddaddy Bill made his living as a dairy farmer.
With my Granddaddy Bill’s passing a few years back and my Grandmother’s recent diagnosis with cancer, we know the farm won’t be in the family much longer. They want it to remain farm land, so my Grandma is in the process of settling the estate now. They had three daughters, but no sons… so passing it down to a new generation farmer didn’t pan out.
It’s funny to me that a piece of land can mean so much, but this one does. So many memories in so little time, and I’m still one of the youngest generations to experience it. Just talk to my Mom, my Grandma, or one of my aunts to hear the best stories of life on the farm.
Tears and all, Thanksgiving was a blessing this year. I’m soaking up the little bit of time I have left with my Gramman this side of Heaven. I’m thankful for the role model that she continues to be in my life, right up until the end of her’s.
Here are some highlights of our trip in picture form, although they cannot fully capture what it was like for me…
Gramman taught me to make her southern caramel cake. A recipe I will cherish and pass down to my daughters one day (Lord willing).
The pro in action!
She passed down a few of her antique kitchen knives to me, too. We had fun scaring everyone in the living room and telling them to “Stay out of the kitchen, we’re not done yet!”.
We ate way too much and I was left with a giant food baby, which of course Matt took a picture of.
We braved the cold for a few family photos.
The girls (Aunt Kay, Me, Gramman, Mama…and Jasmine at our feet).
Aunt Kay and her boyfriend. Who survived meeting Me, Matt & my mom for the first time.
Me and my Mom with my Grandmother’s house in the background. Gosh, I’ve missed her!
My Mom & Matt (her real favorite, don’t let her fool you).
Jasmine was not shy of attention at any point in the day…
One of my favorite parts of the day has no photos to show for it. After dessert, Gramman instructed us to all stay seated at the table because she had something to show us. She went off to her bedroom to grab a book she has been writing since 2009. The story of her life.
She went on to read several of the early chapters about what life was like on the farm growing up. It was a different way of living. As she put it, “a way of life that has gone on with the wind”. She wanted to document all of it before she passes away. How incredible that she has taken the time to write all this out. I never cease to be amazed by her intelligence and work ethic. I will cherish this book for as long as I live.
When Gramman is ready for her nap, she’s ready for her nap. She has always taken very good care of herself physically. So after about five hours of cooking, eating, and visiting… she sent us on our way. But not without first walking me to the barn to retrieve the chicken pot pie she had frozen for me to take home.
We drove six hours both ways for a five hour visit… and I would do it again a hundred times if given the chance.