Now hold on a second … it is not what it sounds like. I am most thankful for every facet of our incredibly bountiful lives. And I am very thankful for a wonderful holiday where we take the time to be with loved ones and give thanks. In my specific case, however, it just comes a day later.
Our Thanksgiving begins at 4:30 AM when we get ready for the day, pack the car and rocket south through Chicago, across the great tundra that is central Illinois, and arrive at the in-laws house in Champaign. Our goal is to arrive by the time the Macy’s parade begins … and most times we make it. From the point we walk in the door, we follow a precise choreography that has been honed over the past few decades. The cooking is in full swing, the parade playing at such a volume that you are continually amazed that so much sound could emanate from a simple television, five adults trip over each other in the modest kitchen, the nephews realize their role is to attempt to create more noise than the parade (which they are quite adept at doing), a constant consumption of cheese, crackers, soup and alcohol fuel the cacophony, the television switches to the first football game and then the second, nephew one flips off the chair and screams like a stuck pig while nephew two says don’t be such a baby, a puzzle is pulled from the box and dumped onto a precariously situated folding table, dinner finally arrives and is consumed after a prayer, each nephew holds a complete turkey leg looking like lords from a Renaissance Faire, a series of phone calls from far flung relatives are sprinkled throughout the day, the clean-up crew swings into action while the nephews resume their relentless generation of chaos, nephew two flips off the step and screams like a cat being swung by the tail while nephew one says don’t be such a baby, we inevitably find one side dish that was completely forgotten in the pandemonium (this year is was sweet potato casserole), we settle in for a quick game of Uno Tippo (which adds a crazy seesaw to the classic game), and finally top off the evening with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Before Snoopy is even pulling the folding chairs from the stuffed garage, the adults are predictably nodding off.
Today, will be a much different story. Today, we will assemble around the table and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Today, we will not be distracted by the immense task of assembling a feast, but rather we will simply graze on left-overs, when and if we become hungry. Today, we will pull out the Christmas tree and get it setup. Today, we will relax and chat and laugh and debate. Today, we will assemble and invest the time with each other. Today, we will take the time to be truly thankful for each other, and all of our family and friends. Today is our Thanksgiving.