She remembers her parents’ annual summer trip to the farmers market to buy butter beans and corn to be frozen and saved for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.
She remembers waking up on Christmas mornings and walking into the foyer that her father had spent all night decorating. And in the den, he’d have dressed a special tree – one year a Tarheel theme; sometimes a Santa theme; after his first grandson was born, a “little boy” theme.
She remembers the family sitting around the dining room table while her mother worked in the kitchen cooking up generations-old family recipes. Turkey dressing. Wild rice. And, of course, the butter beans and corn.
Libby Anne Inabinet had no idea she’d spent her last holiday in the family home.
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But after her mother’s house – the one Inabinet’s parents built together more than 40 years ago on Milford Road along Lake Katherine – was flooded on Oct. 4, her 76-year-old mother won’t be moving back in. From now on, every holiday will be different.
“It’s horrible to lose pictures. It’s horrible to lose furniture, whatever, clothes,” Inabinet said. “But at the end of the day, the memories you have will be when you close your eyes and the feelings that you have when you’re all together.”
This Thanksgiving is, unexpectedly, unlike any other for Inabinet and her family, as well as for many others in the Columbia area and throughout South Carolina.
While some traditions may have been lost – to the flood, perhaps, or to massacre, or to any of the other heartaches and griefs that have struck this year – sweet memories have not.
And giving thanks has taken on a deeper meaning.
“We have to look for the good,” Inabinet said. “I think it’s just what keeps you going and gives you strength. And there is good in everything.
“You just have to look for it, and you have to just trust and have faith that God really does have your back and he’s there for you.”
Out of the hardships the community has faced in 2015, the overwhelming refrain that has emerged has been one of thankfulness.
In a year when so much has been taken from so many, we’ve found in abundance thankfulness for life, for friendship and compassion shown to us all, for treasured memories salvaged from destruction.
We’re thankful to be Columbians. Thankful to be South Carolinians. Thankful to have one another.
With the gift of humble perspective thrust on us by the year that’s past, let’s look forward, with clear, thankful eyes, to a season of simple blessings – family, fellowship, home and love – and a brighter year ahead of us.