Thanksgivng Day began with something those who live in the desert cherish....the sound of rain. We received the first rain on Thanksgiving Day in more than 25 years, and the first rain in 90 days. The desert has that special fragrance that a fresh rain produces, and the washes are full of rushing water. Thank you, God, for the rain!
I was able to spend much of the day with Mom. We had a wonderful dinner at her friend's home, complete with wine, turkey, a fantastic family recipe stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries with oranges and apples, and a delicious eggnog pie and pumpkin cake! Luckily, we ate at 1, so had the rest of the day to walk it off! Thank you God for my wonderful Mother, and for special friends.
After dinner I went out to the ranch and let Bart out in the big arena to run, buck, fart, rear and roll. Then he returned to me waiting at the gate. As I was walking him back to his pen, the lightning flashed and thunder boomed. I was almost there when the skies opened to a downpour. I got under his shelter with him and put his rain sheet back on, and gave him his Thanksgiving carrot, a pat, and Wylee and I ran for the truck. Wylee is terrified of storms, so he wasn't happy about being out in one and getting wet! Thank you, Lord, for the joys and companionship of my animals.
And tonight I worked with my crashed computer again....and wonders of wonders...I was able to get my AOL 9.1 up again and my addresses and some favorites back. Thank you, Lord, for the entertainment my computer can provide when it is cooperating, and for finding a way to make it cooperate again!
I miss the Thanksgivings of my youth. We would awaken to the smell of the turkey that Mom had gotten up early to get started. Dad would crank up "76 Trombones" on the old stereo and his five daughters would march around the dining room table on Mom's homemade braided rug.We would dress in our best and walk to church across crunchy, frozen ground to the chilly church a few blocks away. When we returned, we all had our jobs. One would make the sweet potatoes with marshmallows, one would make the green beans with mushroom soup and fried onion rings, one would make a chop plate of pickles, carrots, celery and olives (the black ones never made it to dinner....Dad was as bad as his daughters in swiping one every time he walked by the table), and one would set the table with the good dishes, silver and goblets. Then we would all pick a number for the football game and put our dimes in the pot. Dinner was eaten at half-time, with each person at the table saying what they were thankful for, starting with the youngest member and working up to Dad (who usually said he was thankful that we were done with our thanks and could enjoy the big turkey!). Sometime one of my grandparents or my godfather, Bernard, would also be seated around the big dining room table. When Bernard would drive up from Minneapolis in his newest Buick, we would also be enjoying the loads of food he would bring....and that usually meant a jug of Mogan David wine for Mom, a big box of Fanny Farmer chocolates, a box of nuts, and a treat with a case of Pepsi for those of us who usually drank Kool-aid! The conversations around that old table was often humorous, teasing, loud, and fun. Then we would watch the football game and scream for scores that would let our number win the pot of dimes.
After the game we had dishes to do (no dishwasher....it was the sisters doing dishes and singing along with the pink radio with the aluminum foil wrapped around the antenna), floor to sweep, sink to clean, copper-bottomed pots to polish....then we were free. We would put on our warm coats and go for a walk, or maybe to the ice rink if there was ice made. I can remember the biting cold on my cheeks as my nose dripped and my toes and fingers turned cold.
Today I was able to share a pleasant dinner with Mom and her friends. My oldest sister and her husband had the buffet at the casino yesterday and will be back on their liquid diets today. My next sister said she would go to the local casino and eat alone at the buffet. My next sister is having dinner with her husband, daughter and her boyfriend, as they celebrate the baby due to arrive in the spring. The baby sister (in her 40's!) will have a big, noisy dinner with her boyfriend and his family. Her son will have his Thanksgiving at a Marine base. My son will have a dinner with his wife, son and in-laws, and my daughter and her husband will have a quiet dinner provided by her church as she continues her bedrest with her troublesome pregnancy almost completed....12 days to go! And Dad has now been gone almost 5 years....wonder if heaven has Thanksgivings!
So our families have spread out, traditions have changed, and those young girls who marched around the table are now middle-aged with children grown and grandchildren on their way. Wouldn't it be fun to win the lottery and be able to pay for everyone to fly here next Thanksgiving to have a noisy, confusing dinner again? Or to be able to turn the clock back 45 years and hear the feet running down the stairs as the brass starts playing "76 Trombones" and hearing Mom and Dad laughing in the kitchen........ Thank you, God, for the gift of memories.