Originally created 11/22/04

The week ahead



There's a song that says every day is a day of thanksgiving. Most notably, however, the day falls on a Thursday in November. Celebrating Thanksgiving Day is my pick for this week.

For one thing, Thanksgiving makes you reflect on things you're thankful for. A 4-year-old once told me he was thankful for ice cream; another said she was thankful for the holiday turkey. But, like most of my relatives, I'm more thankful for my grandmother's dressing, called stuffing by many.

For years I wouldn't eat the weird-looking brown stuff, and now I could kick myself for all the lost time. It's not the bagged stuffing and crumbs you get at the store; nothing in her ingredients is pre-packaged. I know the creation starts with homemade biscuits from scratch as her base, and what she does between then and completion is a mystery - but a heavenly one. The rare treat is one of the best dishes I have ever eaten, and I've never tasted another that came close.

Another reason Thanksgiving is my pick is the gathering itself. Relatives who haven't seen each other in a long while catch up by noting one another's physical changes - weight loss or gain, hair length or color.

Cousins from one side of the family brag on their children's successes before asking the cousins from the other side about theirs. Teenagers' boyfriends or girlfriends are scrutinized with questions and look-overs. Wives get ticked off by their half-listening husbands - who get ticked off when their wives keep interrupting them while they're trying to watch the many football games.

Kids will play. Old stories will be told. Tempers will fly.

Sure, by the end of the day, you've traded places with the turkey, and you're lying still and stuffed. And one-third of the family will no longer be speaking to two-thirds. But somehow over the course of the year, everyone will make up to do all the eating, laughing, fussing and fighting on the next Thanksgiving. What could be better?

Here are other things to do:

TUESDAY

TRIM UP THE TREE IN AUGUSTA ...

We know the holidays are upon us when Augusta Mayor Bob Young presides over the annual lighting of the Christmas tree, which takes place at 5:30 p.m. during the Festival of Lights at the Augusta Common. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there to help.

FRIDAY

... AND IN AIKEN

Santa will make a second Christmas-tree lighting stop, in Aiken. The Holly Days Tree Lighting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Newberry Street Festival Center in downtown Aiken, featuring refreshments and holiday music with Suzanne and Jim. Call 649-2221 for information.

SATURDAY

NOT YOUR AVERAGE HOLIDAY MUSIC

What started as an Augusta native's idea a year ago may be becoming a local tradition. A New Mozart to Motown Christmas, starring Russell Joel Brown and featuring music, singing and dancing, will be staged at 8 p.m. at the Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St. Tickets cost $30 and $45.

THEY'RE EATING WHAT?

Who would have guessed that a 1966 Christmas fund-raiser celebrating chitterlings in a town with a population of 490 would become an annual event that attracts nearly 50,000 people? The Chitlin' Strut, featuring various foods, hog-calling, and a Chitlin' Queen pageant, takes place at the Salley Civic Center and Fairgrounds. Visit www.chitlinstrut.com.

SPOOKY SATURDAY

Today is the last day for Augusta Ghost Walks, where patrons will walk on a guided tour and hear legends and tales of Augusta's haunted past. The walks start at the Old Marion Building, 739 Broad St., at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. The cost is $12 for adults, $6 for children 6 to 12 and free for age 5 and younger. Call 364-0910.

Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or samantha.mckevie@augustachronicle.com.