My pappaw would say the same thing every year when looking over the big table in his dining room before everyone started digging in for the annual Thanksgiving meal.

“Why, there’s enough food in here to feed Nebuchadnezzar and all his armies,” he’d say.

I don’t really remember for sure if he said that every time, but I know that name Nebuchadnezzar sure stuck in my head the first time I heard it.

But there was a lot of food and there were a lot of us, not quite an army though. He and mamaw had six kids, and they all had their own broods. The dining table was jammed with food. There would be venison, smoked and barbecued hams, a goose or a couple of ducks and a monstrous turkey that had to have been from the land of giant turkeys. There were the regular side dishes, but there were also some strangers who only showed up on turkey day.

The buffet against one of the dining room walls was laden with desserts that included my Aunt Wanza’s and Aunt Evelyn’s dueling divinities that even angels could not decide which was more divine. Those of us on Earth did, however, fall into one of the two camps, except one of my out-of-town uncles who would annually proclaim both aunts as candy-making champs. He would eat anything, but I’m sure every family has one of those.

The desserts were so numerous they spilled over into mamaw’s kitchen, which was spotless despite all the cooking that had gone on in the days before and morning of the feast.

I’ve heard so much about the big and little tables at family holiday meals, but we did not have those at our gatherings. All the table spaces were filled with food, so relatives ended up all over the house and outside, too. That is where my cousin and I would sit. We would sit and listen to our uncles, one of them his dad, as they talked about who had the best car. This was a conversation they had often, and for the longest time that is all I thought they talked about. From these conversations I learned General Motors made the best cars anyone ever thought about creating.

But that is where their agreement ended.

The brands they drove divided their loyalties. One praised the beauty and amenities of his huge Buick while another said his equally gigantic 1958 Oldsmobile, which was a tribute to the use of chrome, turned more heads than those bloated Buicks ever would. Then the practical uncle — every family has one of those, too — would say to his younger brothers that they were wasting their money on gadgetry and gloss. It was the Chevrolet that made the USA great.

On and on they’d go until my aunts would stop bringing them food and start telling them it was time to go.

My cousin and I didn’t listen to them all afternoon, but would return to the scene when we could hear them start yelling. The discussions over which GMC car ruled and who drove the best car never came to blows.

My pappaw, their dad, and my dad never participated in the turkey day car talks. I always thought it was funny that all of pappaw’s sons drove GM cars because they were brought up riding in Fords.

Pappaw and Dad would eat together in the den with my mom and mamaw all listening to Johnny Cash 45s. Mamaw could listen to “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” through several helpings of dressing and candied yams.

On the way home, Dad would always say to Mom, “Those brothers of yours tickle me arguing over cars. Everybody knows Dodge is the way to go.”

David Money is the assistant managing editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6964 or david.money@theparisnews.com.

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