Mama scurrying about the kitchen, moving a great big turkey from the refrigerator to a massive roasting pan on the counter, and we three popping in and out and around her legs just getting in the way. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marching along on the console TV in the living room, the sounds of announcers looking for the Snoopy balloon, right after this commercial. The phone rings, an argument breaks out over the last cookie, and Mama steps around us, headed to the wall to take the receiver from the hook while she tells us to stop it. She grabs the harvest gold phone, stopping the trill of the urgent bell, and wisely stetches the forty foot cord down the hall to muffle the chaos from the caller. My littlest brother grabs the cookie and runs away, jamming it in his mouth, cheeks pudging with the effort of chewing the whole thing at once with a triumphant gleam in his eye while cries of, “Hey! He ate all the cookies up!” rise to the ceiling. This was Thanksgiving at my house.
Now we go back to my house again tomorrow, this time with three of my own children in tow. Well, even they have grown up to the point that we aren’t really able to call them children in the sense that they are small, but they have grown up eating turkey at Nana and Papa’s house in the same kitchen and dining room that their mama did. And that is pretty darn special. We can paint Thanksgiving with lots of flowery words about being thankful, but this is what it is- families gathering to celebrate their daily, real life selves and situations to just be together and appreciate all the perfect imperfections of it all.
That littlest brother will be there with his family, including two not-so-little-anymore kids of his own. And my younger brother whose voice joined mine in reporting the injustice of the purloined cookie will be there with his family, which does include two little ones. And it will be loud. Someone may cry over a cookie. It might even be me. Nana and Papa will be tired at the end. But it will be a good tired. And when it’s over, we will add it to the long list of Thanksgivings for which we are thankful. Even the one where I threw up all day, and Mama had to deal with that between baking a turkey and making the best giblet gravy you ever ate. Amen.