Tuesday, November 1, 2016

My Thanksgiving Hero

My Thanksgiving Hero

Grandma R


My friends at The Daily Meal recently contacted me to ask about my Thanksgiving hero. They didn’t want to hear a story about someone who wore a cape (although that would be very cool), but someone who works tirelessly on Thanksgiving to keep us safe and enable the rest of us to enjoy the holiday with our families. Thanksgiving heroes are the hardworking doctors, nurses, military, emergency personnel and other generous individuals who sacrifice time from their families in order to provide us time with ours.

While I don’t have any close friends or family who fall into the Thanksgiving hero category, I do have a personal hero. It’s someone who is near and dear to me but have never actually met. This person, who ranks above everyone else, is my husband's (maternal) grandmother. The reason why I never got to meet her is because she passed away a few years before my husband and I met.
Grandma R, as we affectionately call her, was full of life. Her days were centered around her family. She, along with her husband, raised 5 children on a farm in the Midwest. Every morning, Grandma R would wrangle up the older kids, and together they'd tend to the livestock on their property. They milked cows, fed the pigs and took care of the lambs and chickens. Then they had countless acres of farmland to maintain. She did this day in and day out.
Grandma R and her family's farm, circa 1980

As the years passed, she became a grandmother to 14 grandchildren. Thanksgiving Day was always an event. Not only did she take care of all the daily farm activities, but she always cooked a full feast for that evening's dinner. Grandma R made everything from scratch - from the homemade German noodles to a plethora of pies for dessert (she was well-known for her apple pie). She sourced everything from her own land and only went to town to buy things like flour and sugar. No, Grandma R wasn’t a hero in the sense of sacrificing her time to help lives of countless strangers like a typical Thanksgiving hero, but she did sacrifice time and sleep in order to ensure mouths were fed and tummies were full.

It must have taken her days to prepare everything - either that or she didn't sleep in the days leading up to Thanksgiving! My husband fondly recalls the large mound of mashed potatoes that Grandma R would whip up - enough to feed about 30 people each holiday. As the grandkids (and family) grew, so did the pile of mashed potatoes. 
On her wedding day

Grandma R is my personal Thanksgiving Hero because she had it all together - and did it with a smile. Her food, which I unfortunately never got to taste, was made from love and with the freshest ingredients from her farm. She meticulously prepared and cooked everything by hand and enjoyed watching her family grin ear to ear from each morsel they devoured. Grandma's love was evident in her Thanksgiving feast. Every family member that I've talked to has recalled many fond memories of eating at Grandma's house.

I wish that I had the opportunity to have met Grandma R while she was alive. We keep her spirit alive by baking her pies and talking about the great memories she created for everyone in the family, especially around Thanksgiving. I even named my daughter after her (my daughter’s middle name is Grandma R's first name). So Grandma is definitely with us every day. My husband keeps telling me that Grandma R would have loved to have baked with me since we are kindred spirits in that way. I would have enjoyed spending time with her in the kitchen and learning how to make her special dishes.

Thank you, Grandma, for the loving spirit you've instilled in each of your family members and for being my Thanksgiving hero. I hope that my little family and I make you proud and that you're smiling down upon us.

Even though I didn’t tell you about a Thanksgiving hero who works on the holiday to keep us safe, you now know who my personal Thanksgiving hero is. I’d love to hear about your Thanksgiving hero. Who in your life works on Thanksgiving to keep our communities safe – think hard-working men and women like the military, firefighters, police, doctors and nurses. They sacrifice the holiday so that we can spend time with our families. Do you know of a Thanksgiving hero who could use a break? Nominate that individual for a chance to win a fully catered Thanksgiving feast. It would be a wonderful way to show him or her your thanks and why you consider him or her a hero. More details are below.

Contest Information
This holiday season, La Brea Bakery, the nation's top Artisan bread brand, is giving people the chance to say “Thank You” to their loved ones who have to work on Thanksgiving with a surprise gift – a Thanksgiving meal brought directly to their place of work. Through the Thanksgiving Heroes
page, the company will be accepting nominations for the Thanksgiving Hero in people’s lives. On Thanksgiving Day, ten winners, selected from across the country, will be surprised and delighted with a Thanksgiving feast, courtesy of their family, friends and all of America who nominated.
Key details to get involved are below:
Timing for the campaign: November 1st – November 20th - nominations will be accepted during this time frame.
Ten chosen nominees from around the country will be selected to receive a fully catered feast delivered to their place of work (as a surprise!) on Thanksgiving Day. They’ll get to enjoy it with their family, friends and colleagues, and know that their loved ones think they are true Thanksgiving heroes. If your hero is selected, you will win a $500 gift card.
To make a nomination, visit www.LaBreaBakery.com/thanksgiving-heroes. Your entry should include why your nominee deserves to win (in 100 words or less) and a photo of your hero.
For more information, visit www.labreabakery.com.  

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