We are getting ready for Thanksgiving; changing sheets, planning feasts and remembering. This morning as I stripped our bed, I noticed the old basket under my dressing table. The colors on this basket are just like Indian corn.
My Mississippi grandparents, the Barbers, had plenty of these baskets. Each one was sturdy yet delicate. I believe they are Choctaw baskets. The Choctaws lived in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. I also believe they run casinos in the Magnolia State.
What the sight of that basket did for me was provide a vision of my grandfather's early household. I have a story saved in my computer that was written by one of his sisters for a nursing home newspaper. She recalled how bands of Indians came to their farm to help with harvest. The story crackles like fire. When she looked outside her window it seemed like a carnival. Drums were beating and smoke lingered.
I think of the merriment and traditions exchanged in that time. It is like my ancestors' own private Thanksgiving, Mississippi style. Soon I will be thawing my turkey and baking dressing. If only I could look out her window to see them all, there on the farm.
Native Americans continue to live in the deep South. Here in Kentucky, you don't run across them or feel their shadows unless you study history. We were the happy hunting ground. You have to hunt high and low to find evidence of Indians here. At this time of year, I think of that Choctaw harvest and want to reread my great aunt's article. I will do just that after the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving has passed. I promise and I will share it with you.