I was raised as an only child in a two parent household. Most holidays were spent with aunts and uncles at various family members homes; however my parents regularly cooked a full holiday meal. Usually my dad would roast cornish hens instead of a turkey on Thanksgiving; there is only so much turkey a three person family can eat. The sides would vary sometimes the vegetable would be a type of greens either collards or a turnip and mustard mix. However there was staple treat that my dad usually made, ambrosia salad was a normal part of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
This is the second Thanksgiving since my mother’s death that I have celebrated. Last year I didn’t cook but this year I cooked up a feast for I am thankful for so many things. One of them is the fact that my mother decided to make ambrosia salad fours years ago for Thanksgiving. My father had been deceased for 11 years when she made a memory in a bowl but it taste exactly like my dad’s ambrosia salad; and with it brought back a multitude of memories. A poem was born that day that captured my fathers essence and now it makes me smile because within it is my mom as well. I am not ready to make the salad myself but I could not let Thanksgiving past without sharing the poem with my PaisleyPerspective followers, enjoy.
Ambrosia Salad Memories
Thanksgiving morning mom up early
pulls from kitchen cabinets and refrigerator shelves
coconut, sour cream, fruit cocktail,
pineapple, mandarin oranges, and maraschino cherries.
In one big rush, I’m back to age 10
when my dad used these ingredients
mixing them into ambrosia salad.
His love was in his hands and culinary creations
he would cook with care, baritone laughter booming
against kitchen walls, shaking old window casings
scents from our apartment tickling noses of neighbors.
Dad’s hands grated potatoes to make pancakes
for big breakfasts with cinnamon apples
and sausages sizzling on top stove’s gas burners.
Never did I realize how firm the food connection ran
within my memories succulent scents of ham,
collard greens, yeast rolls, and macaroni & cheese
make me remember happy Easter Sundays.
My dad was taken by God’s grace on a Sunday
June 15, 1997, Father’s Day baritone laughter died.
I miss him and all the messy kitchen pots and pans.
by: Joyce M. Rose-Harris © 11/27/2008