Thanksgiving is still going on. Nice how that can happen. Four of us are older and leaning toward white hair if not there already. I’m trying to take whatever I see and hear to hold inside of me for another year. It’s that good.
I watch how everyone responds to a red-haired, three-year-old girl flitting around like a butterfly, how they light up when she says, Thank you. Such power in small words.
Same girl twirls at blurring speeds when she dances with her daddy (down on his knees), entertaining anyone watching. At the end of the dance, they smile and bow.
We have three couples present who are in the midst of the hardest job in the world: parenting. All six, eating, sleeping, living one thing—parenting. Children here range in age from 1 to 16. It’s an honor to be one of the spectators/grandmothers/aunts who listens and enjoys the interactions and gestures in the room.
Deviled eggs. I apologize for them. I had the hardest time peeling the eggs. Too fresh? Then my son says, Mom, it’s not hard to peel them if you add 1 T of baking soda and 1 T of white vinegar to the water before you boil them. Really? How many of you know this? He has worked in restaurants since high school. Why have I not asked him this before!
The house smells like you might imagine from dressing and yeasty rolls. Pleasant.
A scripture and prayer. Just the way our family does the Thanksgiving meal. It is to God that we are grateful—grateful for food and blessings.
We go through a buffet line making big decisions and then find a chair at one of the tables. Everyone is not here, of course. Always, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are empty chairs (so to speak). We miss family not here but trust they are filling a chair elsewhere.
This is a time to eat and be thankful, to visit, to laugh, to love one another.
It suddenly occurs to me that I probably have 10 potential computer teachers in this one room, all ages. (I so need someone’s help to get a photo of a dog on Facebook. And I must do it a new way, since photos are now routed from my phone to Gmail. Different and puzzling.) It will happen.
It’s more important than it sounds because a stray dog is hanging around in our valley. More specifically, in and out of our yard, day and night, and the Walker hound has no tag.
My husband feeds her because he cannot not feed her. Ribs prominent. And it’s Thanksgiving. We eat a fine meal - but outside, there’s a hungry dog. She needs a home, and my husband and the children want to name her. Oh, no. (Unresolved problem. We’ll pray and live with it until it is somehow resolved. Everything does not have to be solved today.)
The little redhead plays hard. A little boo-boo happens. Her daddy rubs the boo-boo to make it magically disappear.
I immediately recall my own father blowing on my boo-boos and kissing them away. He has a chair in heaven now.
The weekend includes target practice, falling leaves, throwing the ball to a dog, driving golf carts, blowing bubbles and popping them, watching You’ve Got Mail, walking the shoal of a low-water river. Fun happens side-to-side and face-to-face. The college student is finishing a school project and doing laundry. Catch-as-catch-can on naps.
I asked family members, even the little redheaded girl, four questions: If you could go visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? What’s your favorite movie? What would you say is your greatest accomplishment? One of your happiest memories? Fun and informative responses. (Because of people coming and going and tending needs, I asked the questions in small group settings. It worked well and was real.)
All answers, accepted without judgment.
I look over and see a content toddler in the arms of his mother. Pure goodness.
Two or three people have struggled with the sniffles, and who knows the ailments not showing, the worries or griefs unmentioned.
I thank each one for putting out the energy. Such things don’t happen by accident.
Grateful and blessed,
Jimmy Durmon feeding a stray dog on Thanksgiving Day, 2018.
Photographed by niece Rebecca Bland.