Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise
HCP columnist

My humble thanks to fellow Cody Enterprise columnist Doug Blough ( for adding more names to the great dinner party guest idea. I like his eclectic group. I’ve thought more about my guest list, this time thinking about the holidays when many tables will look different and some forever empty.

The holiday guidelines from the CDC recommend limiting travel and size of family gatherings. I made the painful decision to stay home and not visit family. It breaks my heart. My great-grandson is at the age where this might be the last year he believes in Santa.

I remember the Christmas when his mother was at the age of “not so sure.” We tried to make that Christmas a little more magical. Like so many, I’ll miss this precious time together and the traditions. But for their sake and mine, I’m listening to the thoughtful scientists and believing if they are erring, it is on the side of keeping us safe.

So, my fantasy holiday table guest list was a little closer to the heart. I’d like to see my Aunt Flossie once more. I only have vague memories of her. She’s the one who finally got me to give up my bottle when it was long past time. I remember how my parents said she did it, but I’d like to hear from her and what her life was like at a time and place when I was so small.

My paternal grandmother, Melissa, died when I was 2, and I have no memory of her. I have memories into my late teens of my maternal grandmother, Hassie. I’d love to see them again together and discuss their memories and their lives. Both had challenging lives, raising families after their husbands had died in the very poor South during the Depression. I remember my “Granny” was severely crippled with arthritis. She dipped snuff. She had some Cherokee blood, which is evident in photos with her elegant cheeks and dark, intense eyes. She had the longest, blackest hair, and I remember how much I always loved to brush it over and over again.

Joe Bell made the best barbecue and hamburgers. I’d go over to his little restaurant when I would visit family and ask him to make me a barbecue sandwich, a little spicy. One day, he played a trick on me. It was hot, all right. I want him to finally share his secret recipes everyone in town wanted to have for decades.

Uncle Earlon was a giant of man. He was soft-spoken, thoughtful and inquisitive about all things. His arrival at Granny’s after his shift at the cotton mill, wearing his overalls, is one of my most vivid memories of rare family visits. He loved Ford cars. The last time I was able to see him alive, he took me and George for catfish and hush puppies. I remember the tears in his dark brown eyes as we parted. That image has stayed with me for decades.

George. How I would love to see, hear and touch him once again.

I’d like them to know me now. Who would be at your holiday table once more?