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T'was the Night Before Thanksgiving

(by Ne’Untae Brown)

T’was the night before Thanksgiving, and I awoke from sleep at 2 a.m. to the aroma of greens, sweet cornbread, and oven-cooked baked beans with lots of brown sugar. I walked downstairs into the kitchen to find the greatest cook in the world, my own personal chef: my mother.

My mama ruled in the kitchen, at our home in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, next to a huge grass field where I spent a lot of time playing kickball, football, and baseball, and waiting to be fed. I was only an occasional helping hand, grabbing spices out of the cabinet or eggs from the fridge. But on this night, my unexpected presence was a relief, so I washed my hands and got to work. My favorite task was gutting the turkey, which might sound unusual, but I always wanted to be a nurse, so I pretended that I was performing surgery. After placing the neck bone in the deep pot with the seasoned kale and collards, I suddenly had the idea to attempt my mama’s macaroni and cheese, made famous among family and friends for its lusciousness.