There were twelve of us gathered around the table this year. I took time throughout the meal to look, really look at the faces of my friends and family as they chatted and laughed and enjoyed the meal we all took a part in creating.
I was glad I did not let my mini meltdown just three short days prior get the best of me and cancel the thirteen year long tradition of Practice Thanksgiving. You would not believe how hard it is to track down a fresh, not frozen turkey in the months of September and October. I made the mistake of assuming the store that has come through for me the last several years, had turkeys. They did not. On Thursday night I called all the grocery stores in town – only frozen turkeys. I did not want frozen and I feared that I would not have enough time to defrost one before Saturday. Tears welled up, the frozen turkey conundrum on top of a huge school project due Monday was starting to become too much for me to handle.
Husband saved the day. While I read the boys their bedtime stories that night, all the while trying not to think of frozen turkeys and multiple page long papers on math assessments, Husband got online, looked up stores in the next town over and started making phone calls. I think it was on the fourth phone call that he found us a bird. He reserved it and picked it up the following day.
And so on Saturday, we gathered. We dined and enjoyed each others company. Each party brought a dish to share, lightening my load and putting upon the table a colorful display of flavorful food. Pre-dinner there were deviled eggs, crackers and cheeses, Chex mix, mixed nuts, and chocolate covered raisins. The main course consisted of the turkey, of course, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, cranberries, cauliflower au gratin, a pasta salad containing mini shrimp, fresh veggies from the garden, and a surprising dash of paprika. There were homemade rolls, both plain and onion with a variety of jams to satisfy the sweet tooth.
We lounged with sparkling ciders and wine for a while before putting on jackets and heading out for a neighborhood stroll. Upon our return we dined on homemade white pumpkin pie with whipped cream and homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream.
The children alternated their play by location: outside in the forest making forts and being explorers, back in the boys’ bedroom building elaborate marble mazes, and in the T.V. room jumping up and down to destroy cities King-Kong style and swimming in hot lava as they played Kinect Party.
Then in twos and threes, they gathered up their belongings and said good-bye until just one couple remained, a long time friend of mine and her husband. And by long time friends, I mean that they are really more like family. Robin and I sat on the couch sipping wine and talking in that way one can do with a person you have known pretty much all your life. In the other room we listen to our husbands play video games with Cody and Carter.
It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
This morning the dining room table is longer than usual and there are chairs crowded around it. In the kitchen there are a few empty wine bottles on the counter and the fridge is full of leftovers waiting to be eaten.
All signs of another successful Practice Thanksgiving having come and gone.