Holidays were another affair altogether. Even as we all grew older, cousins married (thus spending some Christmases elsewhere), and others moved away, the fist southern bell always insisted on making far too much food all by herself. If you piled only one plate high with food and were unable to return to the bountiful table for a second helping, you were considered by Grandma to be ill. (I was never accused of this since I often ate my own weight in spiral ham, mashed potatoes, fried lace cornbread and rich chocolate pie).
In August of this year, my wonderful grandmother, still so full of life and joy, went to Heaven. Everyone was transformed in that moment, forever altered by a senseless accident that cut short the life of a vibrant human being. Two of my uncles no longer speak to my mother or I. My grandfather ran to Florida to hide from the memories and is now living with one of those uncles who tells him daily how my mother and I are just money hungry, evil women who don't really love him. One of my cousins who was always jells of the attention Grandma gave me didn't even speak to me at her viewing.
The saddest part of all though is there will be no more loud laughing after too many glasses of wine. No more seafood dinners at our favorite holiday haunts. No more crab salad on crackers after the Christmas Eve service.
And no more fried chicken and potato salad.