Mark's mother went all out on the centerpieces this year - they were spectacular - long stemmed roses with tiny little green flowers at the bottom and some branches of cedar (maybe?) - they were a show-stopper!!
I was the obnoxious one with the camera . . .I want to record all of these events so that some day when I'm a really old lady, I can look back and remember!! Sally was talking (she is like me - we talk a lot!) and I caught her in mid sentence. She is talking with Beth (married to one of Mark and Sally's first cousins). There are twelve first cousins - Molly, Sally, Nancy, Bill H., Mark, George, Bill & Susie, Bur & Kim and Peggy and Bubba. Bill H. is a United Methodist pastor in Texas so it is rare for he and his family to be with us at Christmas. I can't remember the last time they were. Peggy and Bubba and their families don't come either - they used to when their mom was alive but haven't attended in many years. BUT everyone else comes!! There have been years when our number swelled into the 40's. This year was a more manageable number! Let's see - we had Molly and her husband, Roger and their daughter and her boyfriend (their son and his wife and two children weren't here this year). Then we had Sally. Nancy and her hubby and three girls were with us this year. George & Alice and Grace were in Clopton but Mark and I and Laura and Lauren and Glenn and Becky and Matt were all there!! You can see how the number quickly grows! It is actually kind of fun to see everyone that night. For years, we all exchanged small presents and when our kids were small, they received two or three nice gifts from one of the great uncles. Mark's momma has always given a gift to everyone also. But over the last two or three years we have stopped all that gift giving. One year we did bring toiletries and small items and we made boxes to be shipped to soldiers.
I didn't mean to go off on such a long tangent . . .sorry about that - here is a picture of two generations of "Susies" . . . Mark's momma was named after "Big Susie" - yes, that is what they called her. I think she was a long time family friend (I need to verify that with Mark!). I never met Big Susie but I do remember going to the estate sale with Mark when we were dating!
Sorry once again - I keep rambling. You can see the food line - oh my goodness - Mark's momma makes the best dressing (stuffing - not in the bird - in a 9 X 13 casserole dish - made with cornbread and chicken broth and celery and onions . . .yummy!).
I was wandering back through the den on the way to get in line and stopped to snap a few pics of plates . . .makes my mouth water just looking at the pictures. You can see that Mark's momma even makes centerpieces for the tables in the adjoining rooms.
Some years we've complained about the party . . .and some years it is a lot of hard work (when we are trying to decide what the "favor" is going to be - this year, it was these cute stockings and mittens that I found at cracker barrel last year after Christmas) . . .but the older I get, the more I realize that when this generation dies . . .if we allow it to happen, traditions like this will die. That would make me sad. Because to be honest, it is a really good tradition.