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The Eclectic Pen - A Thanksgiving Story

By: Ronny S. (ronny)   + 7 more  
Date Submitted: 11/21/2007
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Family & Childhood
Words: 479

  Cora Mae was born in 1926 and grew up in the depression, and had 7 younger brothers and sisters by the time she was 10. Times were hard back then, and what made things even harder for Cora Mae was her mamma and daddy up and walking out when Cora Mae was 11. Just up and walked out.

Cora Mae, being the oldest at 11, dropped out of school and became a parent
to 7 brothers and sisters, the youngest being one and a half years old. She cooked, washed, ironed, and bathed all the kids. They had no money at all so they would go door to door begging for food. Most gave some but alot didn't have much to begin with.

For that first Thanksgiving alone, Cora Mae went out to the vegetable truck that came by twice a week and stole some apples. She brought them home, poured some cane syrup on them, and called all the kids for Thanksgiving dinner. They ate all the apples like it was a King's feast.

One of the Cora Mae's sisters said many years later she could hear Cora Mae late at night in bed, whispering prayers and asking for help. She also heard Cora Mae crying herself to sleep every night when she didn't think anybody could hear. What should have been years of playing and enjoying life turned into a time of misery, hopelessness, and hunger.

During summer time they had it down to an art, sneaking up behind the vegetable truck to grap a handfull of food. On the days the truck didn't make it's run past their house, they didn't eat.

Cora Mae had to learn how to do all the household chores, learning from mistakes, burning clothes with the iron and scorching food, but she did learn eventually and somehow they made it.

When Cora Mae married and had kids of her own, she taught them at a very early age how to cook, iron, wash clothes, sew, and every other household chore there was. Her kids hated it then but years later was glad she had taught them.

For Thanksgiving, Cora Mae always went overboard, cooking at least 15 cakes and pies. The family kept telling her that was too much, but she said she wanted to make sure her own kids didn't go hungry like she had at their age. They never did. Her last Thanksgiving she spent in a nursing home and was so sick she was unable to speak. Her son told her how much he loved her and how he wished she could cook those cakes again just one more time. Just one more time.

Cora Mae Smith, your son sits here this day before Thanksgiving thinking about you. And my heart, what's left of it, is breaking.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Ronny S. (ronny)

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Comments 1 to 4 of 4
Silvercat - - 11/22/2007 3:22 PM ET
Ronny, again thank you for your wonderful talent for writing about the important and real things in our lives. I always look forward to seeing what surprise you will spring next. I miss my Mom today, too, and eased that void a little last night by baking my very first pie with her special pie crust recipe. :)
Joanna B. (joannabanana) - 12/3/2007 1:25 AM ET
IONE L. (zaneygraylady) - 12/5/2007 10:41 PM ET
beautiful story
Pat N. (patmat) - 12/8/2007 10:42 PM ET
What a beautiful story of your mother. It truly conveys what a special woman she must have been.
Comments 1 to 4 of 4