Although Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton popularized “It takes a village” (to raise a child) in her same titled book in 1996, the theme actually originated from a well known African proverb. In Nigeria, it was always considered that raising a child was a communal effort. Growing up in a small quaint town, many hands in Glen Allan, Mississippi contributed to my upbringing. Reflecting after Thanksgiving, I uncovered another slightly variated meaning to the proverb. It took a village to prepare Thanksgiving dinner this year. It took over 7 sets of hands to prepare the feast that my late sister did all by herself. Though my sister’s recipes have been preserved amongst her daughters and several granddaughters, we realized in her absence that it was more than the delectable dishes that she prepared. Sure, my sister could cook up a storm. Her legacy however extended beyond the holiday preparation of food. It’s strange how we often take some things for granted. What we sometimes fail to fully appreciate, our hearts force us to comprehend. Unequivocally, my sister worked hard to bring and keep the family together. The food was just a conduit. Her house was the “Kool Aid” house; the family’s gathering spot. As we lite a candle this year in her memory while we individually related what we were thankful for, my sister’s house was not only filled with the aroma of her signature dishes, but the air also wreathed of a flavorful spirit of heartfelt love; a tradition that she fostered; a tradition that I trust as a family we can continue! Her village vibrantly lives through us … her family! A treasured memory … we will forever cherish!
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