The “Thankful Thanksgiving” of my Texas Twins Events/Pawning Planners Team

Families occasionally disagree, but families are permanent and whether you have inlaws or outlaws- looking beyond their flaws and rejoicing in your relationship with them is never more obvious than an accident or unexpected illness that suddenly “brings all of you together.”

 Every year brings a new chapter in my life with this year being no different.  As my Aunt Shirley continues to heal at Harris Methodist Hospital from a double bypass surgery following a heart attack two days ago, I’m thankful that my family has one another to lean on during this frightening episode. 

Little Pawners Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney Love Going To Aunt Shirley’s Farm In Gordon, Texas
 Every time we “load up” to travel West to Gordon, Texas where my Aunt and Uncle have lived since my childhood, my twin sister and I talk about riding horses and getting our very first rifle training or feeding the animals. 

 To the Little Pawners, these “memories” are wildly different from their “city life.”  My three cousins, Albert Jr, James, Cynthia and Cynthia’s three children all still live in Gordon and all volunteer for the Fire Department and Rescue Team. 

Shirley and Albert Dickson Who Recently Celebrated Their 50th Anniversary
Just a few months ago, my twin and I traveled to Gordon to celebrate a milestone with my family of 50 years of marriage.  Remarkably, I don’t know of anyone who has been married this long other than Mearl and Sharon McBee. Many of our friends have joined us on our journey to Gordon. 

Wendy Wortham riding my saucy horse, Thunder
My Aunt Shirley welcomes everyone into her home as well as running the Meals on Wheels and operating a food pantry that handles three towns near Gordon, she is tireless in her efforts to help others.  Growing up with our cousins in the country taught my twin and I many things about coyotes, scorpions, horned roads and fireflies.  We enjoyed the fireflies the most and feared snakes every time we went to the barn at my Aunt Shirley’s.

  Things in Gordon are at a much slower pace, every truck that passes by has a waving driver behind the wheel.  In Gordon, everyone drives friendly and most everyone knows who you are even if you are “just visiting.”  This year as my Aunt recovers and assigns the cooking for Thanksgiving to my cousin, Cynthia Rene, we are thankful that she will recover and soon take the reins of the Dickson Ranch again. 

Trip to California Aunt Shirley, Wendy Wortham with Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney LAX

This will be our third holiday season without the beloved “Lady Gretta Ozee” aka “Big Momma.”  Gretta was a joy to everyone who knew her and her loss continues to leave a gaping hole in our hearts. 

Our Dad, Jerry Thomas and Gretta Ozee
Wendy Wortham with Gretta Ozee and the Twins, Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney
Stephaney Mahaney, Leigh Ann Blais with my son Robert Hafele and Grandmother, Mildred Thomas
Cindy and I raised all three of our children together and they are very close as a result.  My son has never viewed himself as an only child. 

Wendy Wortham and Cindy Daniel- The Pawning Planners
My twin sister and I view our cousins as brothers and sister since we too, were raised together.  Having a very close family also means that celebrations are shared and- unexpected dramas are equally shared.  Everyone in my family who is no longer with us has died of heart attacks and strokes.  Because of this- Cindy and I keep a close check on blood pressure and heart issues but never expected that the “family curse” of heart issues would touch Aunt Shirley. 

A warrior who could cook and feed an army or handle anything with zest and vigor with a lifelong love of all things Elvis.  When planning her “dream trip” a few years ago, I was surprised that she preferred California over Graceland but since I’ve been to Graceland understood that California would win my vote too!  Our family is originally from California and miss the sand and sea everyday!  My Aunt loved the trip with Cindy and I along with our Little Pawners, Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney. 

Shirley Dickson
Freezing at the beach with Makenna Mahaney, Aunt Shirley “bundled up!”
As we prepare meals and shopping for Thanksgiving, my family has many things to be thankful for and it becomes clear to me that even though my family has the occasional disagreement, view or opinion- we are a family and families are like that- somebody always has something to say about everything.  

But, as we band together to overcome the latest unexpected chapter in our lives, I remember that it’s important to be thankful for and cherish the moments we’ve shared together, the babies were welcomed together and the accomplishments we’ve shared together. 

While we will always miss the “big Texas” laugh and smile of Miss Gretta, I know she is smiling down on her “adopted family” of twins and our travels. 

She was always so proud of our accomplishments and those “tiny Texas Twins.  I’m thankful for the years we had Lady Gretta in our lives and I’m thankful that my Aunt Shirley was saved by talented doctors to enjoy many more holidays with her family….

Wendy M Wortham