The day after Thanksgiving. I'm sitting here with my feet up, wrapped in a warm robe, a cup of aromatic coffee warming my hands and thinking back over the holiday. My past remembrances of Thanksgiving have always been ones of a hectic day, non-stop hurried moments in time, all forgotten. Not so this year. For some reason, time slowed this year, as if providing the opportunity to view the day from the outside looking in.
I saw my parents who will always be in my mind's eye young and vital, slowed by time and not able to do all the things they once did so easily. I believe their greatest joy is the "gathering of the clan". It's elemental to them. All the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren bringing laughter and conversation into their home.
I saw smiling faces around a table laden with food. Lively conversations heard, children at the "kid's table" asking why they can't sit at the big table, compliments to the cook and the mounds of dishes to be cleaned up afterwards. I saw myself explaining traditions to my young niece. I saw both my niece and nephew wanting to make a wish over the turkey wishbone. Luckily my Mom had the one from last year tucked away, so they each had a chance for a wish. After dinner, the three of us took a walk in the back yard down to where the tall pines bend to create what we call "the cave". As they made their wishes and broke the first wishbone, my niece got the bigger half. However, with a little help from Auntie, my nephew made his wish and received the bigger piece of the second one. Wishes granted for both beneath fragrant pine boughs.
I saw card players gathered around a table playing euchre, a reminder of when I was a child visiting MY grandparents for the holidays. I viewed myself, my father and another nephew throwing darts. I also saw myself sitting on the floor by a warm fire playing a game with niece, nephew and great-nephew while watching a Christmas movie. Later the four of us went outdoors into the soft purple twilight, running to the end of the yard again to gather pine cones.
I saw my mother in her favorite chair holding her youngest great-granddaughter who slept in peace and safety. To my Mom's right, another one of her granddaughters, expecting her first child. I saw the back door opening and generation after generation making their way into that tiny house. Cars filling the driveway. Christmas lights coming on at dusk. Dessert, coffee and wine. I also saw the flicker of remembrance of those not with us in many eyes from time to time.
And so, the difference this year....I was given the gift of observation with clarity. It was a very good day.
(Photo courtesy of Shari - Seven Springs, Champion PA)