Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

The house is pretty quiet this morning. The dog, seeming to sense that everyone is in a turkey coma, is curled up snoring in my spot on the couch. I am relegated to the next cushion over, which is actually more comfortable to sit in, not having been compressed by years of being sat on. Thanks, Amy.

We spent Thanksgiving yesterday with my folks, just six of us, as my brother's family spent the day with his in-laws. It was a quiet meal with an overloaded table. I made a gratin of butternut squash and sweet potatoes with Gruyere and garlic infused heavy cream. I don't know if anyone else liked it, but at least I did as it was a lot of work to make. I also made green bean casserole, which everyone does like, to make up for the squash gratin, which again, I liked.

We came home to a Thursday paper the size of a Sunday paper, filled with ads for stuff I neither care about, nor, in some cases even knew existed. When my husband asked me if I was going to the store to pick up some of the computer stuff he had his eye on, I told him that if he woke me up and drove me, I'd be happy to go. As he's still sleeping and I'm typing in my pjs, my evil plan to stay in and relax worked!

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where Norman Rockwell expectations meet reality. I have friends who eagerly anticipate seeing their families and friends who dread it. For us, it's a mix.

Neither of our mothers are doing all that well. Sean's mom had a stroke last year and is in a nursing home. My mom's health is difficult and her memory is worse, which makes the holidays - and indeed any get together - a bit of a minefield to negotiate. Our kids don't spend much time at the table with us, heading down to the basement between courses, which means we don't have a lot of memories of spending time with them at the holidays.

On the brighter side, however, yesterday at All Souls, our church put on a brunch for the homeless. Fliers were passed out at the local PADS shelters and a great deal of food was donated. I didn't have much to do with it, other than picking up some of the donated food and dropping it off before the brunch started yesterday. It sounds like we didn't get as many folks as we were set up for, but there's significant movement toward doing this next year and word will get out along the way. We're in too small of a building to do much more, but I believe we're called on to work out that part, and yesterday was a start.

And it focused me on what to be thankful for: the generosity of the local grocery stores and restaurants; the blessing of a pastor's family who understands what living out faith means; a parish of people who get excited about the opportunity to serve; the security that no one will kick us out from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., leaving us to wander the city until it's time to find shelter anew; that we have both of our mothers still with us; that everyone in our family has jobs; that we could go and get the stuff from the paper in our car at 4 a.m. if we chose to do so; and that we have choices.

So it wasn't a Norman Rockwell holiday, but it'd be hard to fit all that thankfulness into a single picture frame, anyway.

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