The woods are on fire. Trees have been hit by lightening bolts. Nature is forcing new growth – whether I like it or not. Well, I don’t like it. It has jolted me out of complacency. Things I took for granted, people I took for granted must never be taken for granted. Time out! Think.  Remember  – this is a time of year I love.

I love fall leaves, fireplaces, pumpkins, chrysanthemums, Thanksgiving. Mother loved it, too. She made each fall season special. Right before school was to start, she would take me shopping for “fall cottons”. That meant we were going to Atlanta and spend the entire day – shopping! Drive down in the morning and return late afternoon. First stop – Muses. There, most of the salesladies knew Mother by name. “Hello, Mrs. Jewell. And, Janet, how nice to see you. What can we help you with?” Boy, did she love that! Plus, Muses was fun because I was rested and ready to try-on everything. Then, on to J.P. Allen (where I usually got shoes and socks), then Davison-Paxon Company’s Tea Room for lunch. Either that, or the S&W Cafeteria. The decision depended on whether Davison’s was having a Fashion Show, or not. I preferred the S&W Cafeteria (even though I loved the fashion shows). It had great chocolate pudding. And, I could choose what I wanted – fried chicken (unless they had fried fish), beans, corn, turnip greens and cornbread (and/or homemade buttered biscuit) plus a dessert. Dessert was problematic because I wanted one of each. Hard to narrow it down unless they had cherry pie. If not, it was chocolate pudding. Late afternoon, we would drive back to Gainesville, exhausted with the trunk full of boxes – new outfits for school – usually plaid dresses.

We also had to get school supplies – a new book satchel, notebook, notebook paper, pencils (No.2), eraser (rubber gum), ruler, plus anything else on the list. We got all of that at The Book Shop. I was happy. Once school started, I was even happier. I loved school. I still love school (witness, starting Law School at age 59 and graduating at age 62, passing the California Bar Exam at age 63). Currently looking around for a University in Nice that has a class with an English-speaking professor, teaching French. I think there is one in Monaco, but I don’t want the commute.

Finally, Thanksgiving was my favorite! Mother pulled out all her pretty things and made a gorgeous table. Fresh flowers everywhere. Relatives would come from all over to be with us that day. And, wonderful Southern dishes would grace our table. All though my life, I have tried to make Thanksgiving special for my family.  Hopefully, I succeeded once or twice. J  I would set a gorgeous table with fresh flowers. Use my silver goblets and good china. Cook for several days. A typical Thanksgiving meal at our home would be turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, sweet potato souffle, wild rice, petite English peas, celery sticks, carrot sticks, olives, spiced peaches, cranberry sauce, and boiled custard with Waldorf Astoria cake (very chocolaty) for dessert. I knew how to make all of Mother’s dishes (she got from Mama Dorough who got from Grandma Eliza) and succeeded with most. I never could get my dressing or giblet gravy to be as good as hers, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. And, most Thanksgivings, we invited guests. It was fun. For years, my daughter helped me cook. The boys liked it, too.

This year, I must focus on thoughts and memories that make me feel good. At least – this week, I must. Probably next week, too. And, the next. I miss Steve. I miss my kids. Current events are no help. But, letting up is not giving up. It is just a time to re-group. The thought for today speaks to me: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person, each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”  – Albert Schweitzer.

Thank you, Mother.

Thank you, Trascey, Craig, and Blake.

Thank you, My Darling Steve.

Thank you, Friends and Extended Family.

Best, Jay

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Published by jjaywmac

Jay W. MacIntosh (born Janet Tallulah Jewell) is a retired attorney, actress, and writer from the United States, living in Paris, France. She is a member of the California Bar and selected to the 2018, 2019, 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers list. She holds a Master’s Degree in Drama from the University of Georgia and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Zodiac Scholastic Society. As an actress, she is a member of The Actors Studio, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), SAG-AFTRA, and ASCAP, performing in film and television in the United States and France. Her published works include Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 1, Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 2, The Origins of George Bernard Shaw’s Life Force Philosophy, Moments in Time, Capturing Beauty, JAYSPEAK on the Côte d’Azur, and Janet Tallulah.


  1. Good day to you Jay. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories as we approach Thanksgiving. I’m going to make it a special evening by watching your heartwarming performance in “The Dustbowl Cousins”.
    You brought a calming simplicity and inner reflection to that particular role. As I compare this to he real you – the writer, I see the similarities and it brings me warmth. That’s what I get out of it. So, I want to thank you for sharing your heart and your acting on this Thanksgiving. Many blessings to you.


  2. I have tried and tried but can never seem to get that boiled custard right. Once it was actually edible. I miss her boiled custard. I always asked for it whenever I was sick as a child. And I had forgotten about the wild rice. I love that, too. I think I need to go back to the store before Thanksgiving!


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