Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Getting ready for Thanksgiving. Funny how you look at your house with new eyes when you're having a googlezillion people over. My handsome husband is re-caning antique ladderback dining room chairs that our derrieres have been hanging out of for two years now, and re-gluing a kitchen chair that has been in the basement for six months. I have gotten up the gumption to wrap up a project or two that came to a skreeching standstill months ago. It's quite a head scratcher, when you figure you're s'posed to treat your family like company and your company like family. But then, since it is family coming over for Thanksgiving, I guess we're goin' about it right proper-like.

My kids on the other hand, will go the opposite direction with their rooms when they prepare for Thanksgiving and see how much stuff they can get OUT. That way when their cousins get here they're fully loaded and ready for an entire day of all-out . . . . whew I don't even wanna KNOW what. Hopefully it'll be warm enough outside where most of the whatever-they're-gonna-do will take place in the yard or the fort. Please God.

Two years ago just before Thanksgiving I found out a friend, who was also #1 son's best friend's Mom, had an inoperable brain tumor. They gave her only a few months to live. She was five months pregnant, her military husband was getting ready to be sent to Iraq, holidays were here. She had a six year old and a fourteen year old. Melanie died four months later, in February.

This is the third Thanksgiving since I heard that news, second Thanksgiving since she died. Everyone knows how priorities shift and silly sediment falls out and the real things rise to the top when something like that happens, it's happened to us all, but Thanksgiving changed in the most remarkable way that year and has remained changed in my life, in my heart. I owe it to Melanie. She was a devoted Christian with a deep faith. She lived it, she exuded it, she claimed it.

Our family Thanksgiving was at our home that year too - the year Melanie was diagnosed. I bought Chinet plates and go-cups and a paper harvest tablecloth, and had the kids go out in the yard and gather pinecones and beautiful acorns and other treasures, and scatter them in the center of the tables for our 'centerpieces'. That was the extent of time spent on decorating and gussying up the tables or the house. I believe we had twenty eight that year. It was a blast.

May get out the china this year, may not. May wash the tablecloths and send them out to have them pressed, may not. I'm fairly certain I'll go by Publix and pick up the latest and greatest in the Little Pilgrim collection, so the salt and pepper won't sit alone. That's a kick. Point is, Thanksgiving is whatever we decide to make it nowadays. And it's peaceful and calm and it remains a holiday for the giving of thanks. Not the washing of china. Unless we want it to be.

Thank you Melanie.

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