One learns many things at a family gathering. Odd bits of information gleaned while listening to family around a table and later here and there throughout the house.
For one! Thirteen-year-old nephew N visited the Dallas Cowboys stadium this past year and the family was able to walk out upon the field. As they were leaving, N was trailing behind. His mother turned back to see what he was doing and saw him pull a single strand of hair from the top of his head and drop it on the 50-yard line. Just trying to be part of the game I guess.
Two! Adult nephew and niece J and K spent the day with us. Their dad was not here so we were able to regale them with our versions of his childhood adventures. They did not know this little story about their father (who was not present and could not deny nor sputter...although he may sputter when he reads this). Growing up on the farm we raised chickens. Lots of chickens. During the summer they were more or less allowed to roost at night where they wished. But as winter approached they needed to be safe and secure in the chicken house. One fall evening we ventured out after dark to grab them from their roosts and carry them (upside down by the legs, more than one hen in each hand) to the chicken house where they would be penned up for the winter. Brother T was to gather the chickens from the rafters in the lean-to that served as Dad's workshop. He pointed his flashlight upward at the chickens with his mouth hanging open......need I finish this story? You get the drift. (Plop!!!!) Needless to say, J and K will undoubtedly file this mental note to some safe spot in their cranium and bring it forth someday when they relay this very important bit of family history to their own children.
Three! My Mom watches the "Today" show. I didn't know that she is a fan of Linny Boyette who himself is a diehard fan of the "Today" show. I had never heard of this guy! But Mom has and she watches for him in the crowd outside the Midtown studio every morning. If he's not there, she worries about him. And when he's there again the next day she is satisfied that he is okay and it is now okay to change channels to watch something else. Boyette sounds like a nice fellow and you can read more about him here. Daughter now and then travels to New York and says if she ever gets up early enough to go down to Rockefeller Center she will be sure to stand beside Linny Boyette. Otherwise she's afraid Gramma will be so busy looking for Linny that she won't see her own granddaughter!
Four! My sister-in-law teaches computer at school to several groups of young students. She refers to them as nosepickers. (I do not know what percentage of students can be included in this category but that's beside the point and is not necessary to the story.) She says she recently asked one young student to please stop picking his nose because she feared his habit would leave germ-ridden "stuff" on the keyboard. He looked up at her and replied, "It's kinda like smoking...it's a hard habit to break!"
Of course, we had to climb in several vehicles and caravan out to the old farm, just as we have in previous years. (You can read about our version of "This Old House" here!) Niece G who is wearing a classy plaid skirt walked through mud after this photo was taken, losing one shoe temporarily and muddying her tights. She was shoeless the rest of the day. I gave her a pair of old hospital socks to keep her feet warm on the ride home. The socks did not match and they were very grandmotherly socks but she was very sweet and thanked me kindly, running out the door in happy warm feet.
We marveled at Baby M's baby feet and the fact that he has little pads on the ball of his feet. Daughter says the pads remind her of kitty feet. We spent considerable time admiring his feet and assuring each other that with such long toes, surely he will grow up to be a great athlete. Kitty feet and all.
Other musings: Daughter and I wondered "why, oh why!" can't the bakers cut bagels and English muffins ALL the way through.
We later lingered at the (now clean) kitchen table browsing and laughing through two boxes of family photos. A photo of dad's old 1928 Studebaker illustrated the story of how my mom and her brother drove to California in 1946 with three of us along for the ride. I really don't remember it...I was a mite young. I asked brother F if he remembered the trip and he responded, yes, he did. At least parts of it. Nephew J asked what Mom and Uncle Jake would have done if the car had broken down during the 3600 mile round-trip. She replied that it DID break down. Uncle Jake cut some wire from a nearby fence, made repairs, and they traveled on. You can read about that venture here.
Niece A joined in the laughter at the table but her siblings spent most of the afternoon with our grandson D in the basement playing games on the Wii. I'm sure the conversation down there was less than sparkling...just "game" talk.
Over the length of the day, eighteen persons managed to consume eight pies, a 15-lb. turkey, one large meat loaf, one vegetarian lasagna casserole (for souls not hardy enough for turkey or beef...heh-heh), 10 lbs. of mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce (my secret recipe is simple and yummy!), sweet and creamy sweet potatoes, and other assorted dishes. Everybody brought a dish or two and we had plenty of food to enjoy. But the fellowship of family was the very best part.
I ponder deep things such as how many tons of turkey carcasses ended up in the landfill this week. And why anyone would venture forth on the Friday after Thanksgiving in order to shop amidst maddening crowds.
Since I had cooked our turkey a day ahead of time and had deboned it, I cooked up the carcass and used the resulting broth for gravy. Best gravy ever. Even though it was a mite thin. Thin gravy. It's a tradition in our family. Every family has traditions and I can't seem to break this one, no matter how I try.
Hope you and your families are blessed in all ways. Especially this Thanksgiving weekend.