A day for thanks

I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a Thanksgiving Day more. My house was packed with laughter, hugs, teasing and fun, and there were times I stopped whatever I was doing just to sit back and watch the chaos, probably wearing and ear to ear grin.

Last week, my yougest son Matthew called home from his part-time job at a grocery store.

“Did you buy a turkey yet? They just went on sale. I can pick one up.”

“Go ahead,” I said. “Remember, everyone will be here, so get a large one.”

He came home that night with a bird that weighed slightly less than 25 pounds. It was 24.67 or something like that. E gads.

I usually put our bird in the electric roaster the night before, set on a low temperature, which I did this year also. It took a shoehorn, a bit of butter lubricant, a WWF elbow drop and a bit of wrestling reminiscent of a SNL/Julia Childs skit to get that big bird in the roaster, but I did it. If you’ve ever wondered what the maximum capacity of an electric roaster is, turkey-wise, I can honestly tell you it is 24.67 pounds.

I was worried about the slippery roads on Wednesday, but my daughter Maggie and her boyfriend JJ made it here that afternoon. On Thursday, I put JJ and Matthew to work peeling potatoes. When my son Nick and his girlfriend Jess showed up Thursday, it was perfect timing, because no one has the knack of tasting the gravy and figuring out what it needs a little dash of like Nick does. He was sniffing the air like a starving hound as he peeled off his coat. I was still hugging Jess when he had a spoon in one hand and a spice shaker in the other. I had made some darned good gravy. His finishing touches made it great.

I put Jess in charge of figuring out which stuff went in or on which bowl or plate, so she kept us organized. Maggie mashed potatoes while my mom (Nana to the kids) whipped up stuffing and prepared corn. The guys wandered through snatching at tasty morsels while us ladies got things ready.

 There was one thing missing, however. More than once I looked up, wondering what I was forgetting, and would scan the room. “Oh, yeah,” I would remember. “Rachel isn’t here.” Matt’s girlfriend was with her family. It was the one thing that stopped the day from being absolutely perfect.

When we all sat down to eat – nine of us squished around our table – it was wonderful. Silly stories, fun memories, teasing and a glorious feast. We took turns listing a few things we were thankful for – the list ran from each other to the food in front of us and included our pets, football, music and the existance of chocolate – and then dived into the wonderfood everyone had helped cook.

Some holidays make me miss my little kids, but this one is better as my kids get older. They help with the workload, they bring their delightful “significant others” along, and it is such a joy to listen to them jokingly squabble with each other. I’m lucky enough to have my parents here also, who toss in their own memories, jokes and teasing.

Definately a day for thanks.