Last year’s contribution was sweet, with apple caramel cake. This year, I’m thankful for savory. Image: Sherry Lucas

by Sherry Lucas

The first full-throttle Thanksgiving feast I handled on my own was, simply put, an education in an oven. I’d stuck to sides, bread and an occasional dessert up to that point, duly contributing to a feast at this house or that, and enjoying the cog-in-a-wheel role, as opposed to the eye-of-the-hurricane part.

We all grow up with certain traditions, and my family’s was a leisurely feast that never came together before 2 p.m. and often closer to 3. For this one, centered around my dearest’s crew, I’d done all the prep work of thawing and seasoning and calculating roasting time.

Folks were due to show up around noon, I think, and I felt pretty good about the timetable. Until my dearest shook me awake at 5 a.m. Thanksgiving morning with “Don’t you think you should get started?”

What the …?! Who DOES this? I wondered, shuffling into the kitchen to wrestle with a raw bird before the sun was even up. Dutifully, I got started. The turkey was done by 10:45 a.m. — heck, that was practically breakfast! Worked out fine in the end, of course — giving thanks, chowing down and chatting up, leftovers for days, turkey pot pie, etc.

This year, I’m scurrying back to the sides corner, with an emphasis on personally harvested foods for a truly thankful expression of the holiday. Butternut squash soup and persimmon salad, it is.

Have a fun and feast-ful Thanksgiving, folks! And, sleep in if you can. You’ll need the strength to catch all the fun that’s just up ahead.

“Journey to the North Pole,” inspired by navigation and geography lessons and holiday literature, brings a magical winter village of sparkling lights and train cars to the exhibition hall at the Mississippi Children’s Museum, complete with the Snowflake Slide (and Bingo for those not tall enough to ride the slide). Join the fun at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Friday through Sunday and beyond at the museum.

Journey to the North Pole continues at the Mississippi Children’s Museum. Image: Mississippi Children’s Museum

Martin’s annual Jackson Clown Around Thanksgiving Eve Show delivers a full spread of entertainment by Jackson and New Orleans musicians, featuring Dave Jordan, John and David Shirley, Cloud Wars, Scott Albert Johnson and John Scanlon. There’s a 9 p.m. door for this 18-and-up show.

Give thanks at the Jackson Zoo Thursday, with free admission at the zoo from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a chance for families to visit with zookeepers, create memories and burn calories, too. Donations are encouraged.

Join the celebration and catch the signing and reading of “The Bravo! Way: Building a Southern Restaurant Dynasty” by Dawn Dugle, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Lemuria Books.

Offbeat Black Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, means discounts and a special release of cider in collaboration with Backwater Brewing and Lucky Town Outcider.

JamesGiving, 6-10 p.m. Friday at the Studio, 3017 N. State St., is a musical celebration of the life and talents of photographer and longtime Jackson music booster James Patterson, with Beat Temptation, beebees, Elaine Barber, David Minchew, Rameses Lukas Trio, Rhonda Richmond and special guests. A few of Patterson’s prints remain; they will be priced and on display. There’s a suggested $5 cover.

Hear Sherman Lee Dillon at The Iron Horse Grill, 9 p.m. Friday. Saturday night, Mark Doyle and Mr. Bud take the stage, 9 p.m.

If you want to make your December more delicious, keep this in mind: Friday’s the deadline to get in orders for Greek pastries and party food, in the annual Greek Pastry Sale, a fundraiser for the Ladies Philoptochos Society at the Holy Trinity-St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church in Jackson. All those delicious cookies, plus spanakopita, moussaka, pastichio and more are on the list. Email baklavabakesale@aol.com for an order form or check the Jackson Greek Fest Facebook page for an order form. Pickup is Nov. 30 or Dec. 1 at the church.

Get orders in by Friday for the annual Greek Pastry Sale. Image: Sherry Lucas

Take your photo with Santa (and get on his good side early) at Highland Village, where he’ll be available and jolly well happy to comply, 1-6 pm. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday. You’ll get your own SD card with photos you can print or share on social media.

Free guided tours, 11 a.m. Saturday, offer a closer look at exhibitions now on view at the Mississippi Museum of Art, including “Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection;” “Material Pulses: Seven Viewpoints;” and “Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer.” Tours begin in the museum foyer.

Get a closer look at exhibitions at the Mississippi Museum of Art with a free guided tour Saturday. Image: Mississippi Museum of Art

Visiting artist Chuck Galey leads a watercolor workshop Saturday at the Mississippi Children’s Museum at 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. It’s a chance to celebrate winter by creating your own holiday greeting cards.

Chuck Galey is the visiting artist Saturday at the Mississippi Children’s Museum. Image: Mississippi Children’s Museum

The 27th annual Top Hat Brunch, an annual fundraiser for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Central Mississippi Chapter, puts fashion and fun together in top-notch style Saturday at the Hilton Jackson on County Line Road. Music, style, shopping and the legendary parade of hats are a holiday tradition here, and the new hat categories showcased this year — Lady Mae, Beyoncé and Aretha — will make this year’s even more special. The Holiday Shopping Extravaganza starts at 9 a.m., with brunch seating starting at 10:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. program, with a theme this year, “S.T.A.R.S. in Hats and Heels.” Tickets, $50, can be purchased in advance from NCBW members; call Katrina Myricks at 601-940-3262 or Jerelyn Butler, 601-955-8469 for more info.

The Top Hat Brunch is Saturday at the Hilton Jackson. Pictured are (from left) Corinne Anderson, Jennifer Wallace, Rita Wray, Jerelyn Butler and LaVerne Gentry.

Museum Store Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Mississippi Museum of Art, offers relaxed and inspired holiday shopping, with discounts on select items and a free tote for the first 25 shoppers.

Get in some relaxed shopping with Museum Store Sunday at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Image: Mississippi Museum of Art

Hal & Mal’s has a dependable – and enjoyable – Tuesday plan: enjoy Dinner, Drinks & Jazz with Raphael Semmes & Friends.

Deck the District, 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at The District at Eastover, lights up The District’s Christmas tree to kick off Friends of Children’s Hospital’s annual holiday fundraiser, Light-a-Light presented by  BankPlus. Ballet Mississippi adds a festive spin with a “Nutcracker” performance and Seth Power Music supplies holiday tunes. Cookies, hot chocolate, caroling and more make the District merry for the holidays ahead.

Sherry Lucas, a features writer in Jackson for the last 35 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a curated sampling of creativity and culture from across the metro area. For additional Fondren events, see our online calendar here. Reach Sherry at sherry@finditinfondren.com.

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