Thanksgiving 2017

    Our gathering this year was truly, nicely traditional and memorable. We had the regular fare of turkey, ham and mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, both gravies. The girls brought the stuffing, vegetables, and a salad. We had the whole day to visit, play games, be together, and eat, of course.
    Then there was pie. Pie deserves it’s own paragraph which is the only reason I needed to start a new one. Amy made the famous, important brown sugar pie. I guess from what those who like it claim; it is just as good as Grandma Graber’s. At any rate, brown sugar pie is a must-have at a traditional Graber family get-to-gather. How else can we have the debate and buffoonery over the parceling of one pie fairly to those who “love” it and the avoidance of those who “hate” it. We had other pies for the rest of us. Lance likes peanut butter cream pie, so I made one. One pie of each kind that we like used to be plenty. Pie is ridiculously, densely, caloric. But who cares on Thanksgiving Day! Besides those, we had apple and lemon cream pies. And Lisl made a very nice pumpkin cheesecake, which was my pick of the pie part of our day.  Consensus at the end was this: “There wasn’t enough pie.” I just wrote that down, so now we’ll remember.
    Wednesday night, while other people, who I won’t mention by name,went to prayer meeting; Elv and I lined three tables up in a long row right down the middle of the house. We played musical chairs with them till we got them arranged for the best space possible which was still  pretty tight, and covered them all in white cloths to become one long table. Then we spent an hour placing the name cards I had created with the Cricut on Monday. I was so glad for his help with this. With two of our families missing, we still had nineteen people, nine of which are children ages eight years old and under. Try this sometime. Remember we are going to be passing heavy dishes of meat and taters and sauces and what-have-you from person to person. So we need to have the adults interspersed evenly. Anyway, we got it done and it worked, even though I still had to get up and help pass dishes. Clark frankly stood up at his end of the table to get it done.
   What a hub-bub it was when the families and their paraphernalia came pouring into our little house. Elv came in from his last minute Wal-mart shopping with flowers for our table and chocolates and other goodies for later. We “dished up” at noon sharp, Grandma Hershey’s wedding platter with the ham among the other heaped dishes.
   As we all settled into our places, I passed out Ron Hamilton’s song that we always sing on such occasions. I hope it’s true of each of us, “I shall come forth as gold.” Bowed heads and held hands around the table while Elv asked the blessing.
   Just passing the main course till we had loaded plates took a few minutes. There was a hush then as we began to eat. I mentioned that it was a little like feeding the calves and Charlotte replied that I always say this. I also reminded them all that even though we tried to keep tradition, “There is no lutifisk, and you should all be glad.” Then granddaughter, Havilah, observed for us succinctly, “This is a REAL party.” And it was!
     Lisl said that Jube was still talking about it on Friday, about the long table with people on both sides and nobody had to sit on the stairs.
     After the meal we girls did dishes. The children went outside and built a cave of firewood and a tarp and the four boys tried to deem it off limits to the two girls as boys and girls have always done.The men played board games and rook managing to keep the noise level down so that babies could sleep.
    During the afternoon, Lisl unearthed a box of quilt blocks that she is hoping to turn into much needed blankets for her family this winter. We also found the quilt tops that we have from Grandma Ruth, one for each of the grandchildren in our family for whom they haven’t yet been quilted. How much will we accomplish of this during the next year?
      Just before dusk we gathered up children and coats and boots and strollers and took a walk around our block. We met Amy and Tim on their way back from “going walking”, so they turned around and walked with us. The grown up sons didn’t exactly drag race with their strollers but it was tempting, obviously.
     We finished up our day by bringing out the cold meat, bread, cheese spreads, crackers, smoked fish, brie, cranberry sauce, pie, and ice cream. There were mixed nuts to crack and fruit to slice. Amazing amounts of food and many happy times together all day. If we ate this way every day, by next year the nephews could look up at their uncles and remark, “My how you’ve grown!” instead of the other way around, as is the traditional greeting of grown ups to children.
      Last of all, I am thankful for roots and traditions that bring families together for a day to eat and play and remember.  I’m glad for this opportunity to visit and just rest. We didn’t have to solve about caving basement walls, or refinishing hardwood floors… or we could find out how others are doing those things if we needed. Problem solving or planning ahead or comparing projects or just laughing and crying together in the family context is a rich blessing from the Lord.
     And, as one of my aunts said once, I’m glad for what our grandchildren are teaching our children. It’s great watching and participating in the bringing up of another generation from the stance of a grandparent.We love being Marmee and Grandpa to them.

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