Day Writing: Thanksgiving
November 22, 2017
Thanksgiving is a time to gather together, to break bread, and to enjoy the company of family for both my and my husband's families.
On my side, everyone brings whatever the host asks, and I am typing this while my pumpkin pies bake and before starting my rhubarb desserts. The meal is scheduled for 1-2:00 pm., because my cousin Brittany, who is hosting this year, knows as well as the rest of us that running early is an extreme rarity in our family. Plus, getting chores done and driving the 2-3 hours we all have to travel would make noon tough even if we weren't all perpetually behind schedule.
The food itself is an homage to my grandmother's ability to cook. Half or more of the dishes will either be hers, or an updated version of what she once made for the holiday. It is rare for the meat of the day to be solely turkey, largely because my dad does not like, "dead bird," much. Ham, or in recent years' prime rib, has been served as either the only meat or in addition to turkey. If it is just turkey, my dad, "suffers through," as he puts it.
Most will eat too much to have dessert immediately after the meal. Coffee and discussion of the cattle market, hay prices, travel stories and other general catching up will pass the time. Hilarious recollections and booming laughter will fill the air. Touring the new house, showing off new guns, possibly shooting guns, checking out vehicle customizations and a number of other things will pass the afternoon in between each person's trip, or trips, back the kitchen for dessert.
Before heading home, an early dinner of leftovers, often a ham sandwich using a homemade dinner roll, is consumed. The leftovers are divvied up, and everyone slowly trickles out.
Later we will gather with my husband's family, which is at his mom's house on whatever day works for all her children and grandchildren to make it. The meal is at noon, and everyone is there well before then. We are usually the last to show up, but not late thanks to my husband. Turkey is on the menu, but the ladies do all kinds of different things with it. We've had it smoked in the recent past, and this year the plan is to have deep fried turkey breast. Everyone brings something to contribute to the meal, and that's what that second pie and dessert are destined for.
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The really fun part, in my opinion, are the seven kids. They will rip and roar, making the circle in my mother-in-law's house countless times at breakneck speed on foot, with a wheeled toy, crawling, etc…, until someone tells them to tone it down. Most likely twice. They show off lost teeth, new skills, and scholastic achievements. Following the meal and in the middle of all this chaos, my brother-in-law Luke will fall dead asleep in an easy chair.
Butchering the fat steers, the fall run and horses will all make their way into the conversation between child requests as the hours pass. At some point the Black Friday flyers are usually studied and discussed.
Once again, at the end of the day, everyone will load up with copious amounts of food, extra of their personal favorites, and head for home.
It isn't lost on me what treasure these gatherings are. The ability to meet with family, share a home cooked meal that could easily feed twice the number in attendance, and spend a day simply enjoying the company of those nearest and dearest to us is a blessing.
May each of you fully enjoy and embrace Thanksgiving with your loved ones, and use the time to counterbalance all the things a year brings that distract from how truly thankful we should be for the Lord's abundance in our lives.