My husband Mike lovingly prepares our entire Thanksgiving meal. He’s not the come-alongside-me chef, but more of a loner in the kitchen; cooking this dinner is serious business. My job is setting the table and getting the house ready for our family and our our special guests, our daughter-in-law’s parents Mick and Jean who live in Minnesota. I also prepare spiritually.
Before the Blessed Sacrament (Adoration), I pray that we all get along, and that if politics comes up, I will not get caught up in defending my stand. I pray that all of our grandchildren get along, but mostly I pray that the peace of God be in our midst.
Maddie, our oldest grandchild, for the last few years, has been lovingly making our seating tags. These place cards are creative and personal, depicting different themes of Thanksgiving. I gave our grandson Will a choice of Scriptures on Thanksgiving to read, Will read from Colossians 3:15: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Our son Mikos said grace, and with that we were ready to dig in.
I can only try to explain how delicious Mike’s meal turned out. I was the least surprised because I witnessed all the hard labor of love that Mike put into our feast. For every Thanksgiving, Mike starts Wednesday with brining the turkey overnight, and then prepping for his famous tortilla stuffing. He gets up at the crack of dawn and works throughout the morning. I help with cleaning up, but mostly I need to stay out of the kitchen, because Mike needs his space.
Jenny is in charge of the salad, and she always uses romaine lettuce, but sadly all romaine lettuce was pulled off the shelves due to an E. coli outbreak. My heart breaks for the farmers, and the great loss they are going to experience, because all the romaine lettuce is tagged and must be discarded. Most of this product comes from California, and framers here supply most of the USA with lettuce. Jenny used butter lettuce instead, and we all loved the new flavor. Sonja made Pumpkin Pies, Turtle Cheese Cake, and Pecan Pie that was a little runny, but delicious. A sweet friend of ours, Natalia, stopped by with chocolate cupcakes; that were topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting, and we had so many different choices that I had a little of all desserts. There is always a price to pay for gluttony, aside from the scale tipping in the wrong direction, my face was broken out with unwanted blemishes.
While I was Christmas shopping at Marshalls, I noticed a Bingo game, I don’t know why, but the image of the game stayed in my head and I felt a strong urging to purchase the game; however I did not buy it. Several days later I went to Home Goods and purchased the last Bingo game in the store. I also purchased several gifts for the prizes. This little old-fashioned game was a huge hit. From the youngest to the oldest, everyone loved it, and we ended with a cash blackout bonus.
The importance of any game is to keep the kids off their electronics and to experience real interaction with the rest of the family. Electronic gadgets are quietly ruining a generation of kids, and I am concerned about several things, including the lack of exercise, and placing the device on their laps. I always ask my grandkids, “Do you want to have children when you get married? Then you need to place a pillow on your lap when you’re using your iPad.” Only God knows what type of emissions we are being exposed to.
Our daughter Sonja has started a tradition with her family of going to the movies after Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately for the rest the of us she leaves right after dessert and right before the cleanup starts. Unlike Mike, I welcome all the help I can get in the kitchen. Thank you Jean, Norma (my sister-in-law), and Jenny for all your help.
After our guests left Mike went straight to bed for a well deserved good night’s sleep. Not me, because while I’m putting away Thanksgiving decoration, I’m getting out Christmas stuff. It takes us three days to complete this task.
When I got home from church last night, I walked into a dark house. I asked Mike why the all the Christmas lights were off and he said, “I don’t want the electric bill to be too high.” “So we worked our butts off for three days to not enjoy the Christmas decorations?” I said to myself. It was late, and I was too tired to start a dispute over this; plus I needed to remind myself of all the hard work Mike put into our meal. The Christmas lights will shine soon enough, and the moratorium for arguments will be lifted after three days.
“The family that prays together stays together.” Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C.