“You can choose your friends but you sho' can't choose your family, an' they're still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge 'em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don't.” Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
Family is a universal theme in my writings for my book. Many memories of my family growing up in Lakeland, Georgia involve around gatherings where some of the best food in the world was served. Mama's mother was Avie Jackson Carter. Avie had three sisters: Frances, Ludell and Letha. Mama's side of the family always spent many of the holidays together. The hosting duties were switched around over the years but when I grew up, New Year's Day was at Aunt Letha's, Thanksgiving at Aunt Frances', and Christmas at Aunt Ludell's.
Over the years since the passing of all the Jackson Sisters (Avie, Frances, Ludell & Letha), their respective children have at one time or another taken on the role of hosting. With many of them gone (Mary Linda, Ludell's daughter, is the only surviving member of her generation), everyone has gone in different directions with regards to holidays.
Last year, upon urging by my sister Paula and some of our other cousins, I decided to call all of the remaining cousins together. To be clear and minimize confusion, I called the reunion "The Jackson Sisters Reunion". Other family members from the Smith family(Great Grandmother Mary Smith Jackson), but the bulk of family are the descendants of Avie, Frances, Ludell & Letha. We gathered the last Saturday in April in Lakeland and approximately 40 of us gathered. The weekend was chosen for two reasons; Mary Linda's birthday falls in April and Camp Creek Church Homecoming is always the last Sunday in April. Camp Creek Baptist Church is just over the county line in Clinch County. Many of Mama's family took root there and still attend to this day.
Everyone who attended last year had such a great time that we have decided to continue the tradition annually.We are gathering this Saturday in Lakeland. Needless to say there will be some amazing food prepared! I am making Mama's Dressing and Baked Asparagus. The following day will be Camp Creek Homecoming; another wonderful opportunity for food and fellowship. I will probably come back to Nashville at least five pounds heavier!