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Thanksgiving in the Midwest



Thanksgiving in the Midwest can mean many things to many people. It is the beginning of a season of colder weather and wonderful fragrances coming from the kitchen. Thanksgiving in the Midwest means enjoying a short holiday break from school to visit with family and friends a little longer than normal and to partake of all the cold weather favorite foods that make this holiday special. Thanksgiving in the Midwest especially in Illinois can be chilly with even some snow on the ground, like they are experiencing now.

I remember my mother, Nancy Gertrude Brumley Weik beginning the planning of the Thanksgiving Day meal right about now. We did not have relatives that lived nearby to share our dinner, it was just the five of us. My mother put just as much effort into getting the meal right than if she was planning to feed a houseful.

I would watch closely how to prepare the meal every year because I knew one day I would be fixing Thanksgiving dinner for my family. I also learned a few new ideas along the way that I added to my Thanksgiving dinners but I always had the traditional tasty food favorites every year.

My mother, Nancy Gertrude Brumley Weik enjoyed preparing our Thanksgiving dinner because there were times in which her family did not have the luxury of having a Thanksgiving meal in the 1930's. The Great Depression was hard on many families just trying to make ends meet, so extra food meals did not happen unless someone would give them a turkey or potatoes for free so my grandmother, Nellie Opal Sells Brumley could prepare the Thanksgiving meal. They were thankful when those opportunities came along to feed their family.

My mother never wanted to go back to those times and thankfully she didn't have too. She reminded me often that if I had to go through the Depression again like she did - I would probably not make it. That statement has been in my head for many, many years.

So bring on the Turkey, the mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, salad, homemade rolls and don't forget the cranberry sauce! But as you put your napkin in your lap to enjoy all the favorite foods of the season - say a prayer of thankfulness for what you have been given over the year, for your family near or far, for new friendships and old, for the love of God and country and for being alive to see it unfold for another year.

I wish all my family and friends a wonderful Thanksgiving and please be safe in your travels.

And one last thing - I will take one piece of Pumpkin pie with whipped cream please and thank you!!!!




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Storytellers of the Tribe

We are the chosen. In each family, there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts, but instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe.

I found this saying the other day and I felt I needed to blog about it - because it says so much in such a short paragraph. Storytellers of the Tribe are the chosen ones to bring life to our ancestors of long ago. There is usually only one or two people willing to take this research of a family on, knowing it will be a life long quest. No matter the reason we do it, we just feel compelled to bring our ancestors to life so that we can understand how we got to where we are today. 

I remember my mother, Nancy Gertrude Brumley Weik telling me many, many times that I am related to a Cherokee Indian. I am supposed to be 1/82nd Cherokee Indian. I have looked for that Indian since 1983 with no luck so far. For years and years I was always told that I had high cheek bones so that meant I was Indian. I have been told I talk with my hands and that was supposed to mean that I was Indian. As of this date I have found nothing in my research that indicates that I am Cherokee Indian or any other kind of Indian but I continue to search.

My mother started her storytelling very early in my life so she must have assumed that I was the chosen one to help her preserve the stories and traditions of her family. Growing up my brothers could have cared less about hearing the stories of my parents childhood days, but I on the other hand absorbed these stories like a sponge. 

I so enjoy bringing these people back to life and sharing the stories that has been passed down to me. It is an honor and privilege to be able to bring these people alive again and to say thank you for paving the road for me and my children and grandchildren.