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True to the week we are honoring, I'm thankful for a lot, including important assets such as the love of God and my family but not limited to the little things that get me through my day, such as a travel-sized hairbrush that goes with me everywhere, keeping me from looking totally disheveled and surely earning me job opportunities and first dates over the years that I otherwise would not have gotten.
This brush was, for a long time, the only looks-related aspect of my life for which I was grateful. Even into college, I remained steadfastly insecure, especially about my uncontrollably thick eyebrows - the manifestation of one drop of Cherokee blood in my paternal lineage. My father has them, his father had them, and his mother, Emma Lane Salter, had them. I have struggled all of my life to keep them in order.
As I've grown, however, I've begun to appreciate my looks more. The absences of my mother, aunt, and grandmothers are more bearable sometimes because if I want to see their faces, I need look no further than my mirror.
My great-grandmother Salter suffered from a profound battle with Alzheimer's - by the end, she didn't know us and we didn't know her. This effect is, for my money, the most devastating ramification of that disease because the last memories we have of those loved ones are of such indignity and loss.
Recently I ran across a photo of her taken not too long before her death, and despite wrinkles and white hair, her eyebrows never lost their rich color or thickness. I was reminded that no matter what happens to us as we grow old, certain pieces of our identities will stay with us forever, reminding others that we will always be ourselves. I hope my brows never lose their character, and I hope that they'll help distinguish me as a Salter for as long as I live.
She made an egg custard pie that was the favorite treat of most everyone in my paternal family and has remained a Thanksgiving staple even after her death as my grandmother and now my stepmother have carried on the tradition. It's impossibly easy to make, and you probably already have all of the ingredients on hand - the most difficult part of the process is waiting on the custard to set in the oven.
Emma Salter's Egg Custard Pie
2 large eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. melted butter
1/2 t. vanilla
1 thin pie crust
Beat eggs, milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla very thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Pour into pie crust and bake at 250 degrees until custard sets and is brown on top. (Mine took about an hour and a half, but start looking after an hour.)