Thanksgiving State of Grace

Thanksgiving is the countdown to Christmas.


My daughter Sonja makes all the desserts for Thanksgiving.  After a long day at work, Sonja was excited to start her baking and for the first time her son Jacob helped.  Then it happened, Jacob  accidentally dropped egg shells in the pumpkin pie mix.

You should always have adult company when preparing  meals for a big gathering; never do it alone. After a short phone call and by the tone of Sonja’s voice, I knew I needed to pay a visit.

I got there in time to cool down the emotional temperature. Both of the boys were in their rooms, and on this busy night Russ was at Jujitsu. By the time I arrived, Sonja  had already made a turtle cheese cake, mini pecan pies and was straining the egg shells from the pumpkin pie mixture.


Outdoor decorations by Mike

They had not had dinner, so I texted Russ the biggest fast-food debacle. After the messed-up food order, all was back to normal.

Be A Servant

Mike has always graciously prepared all of our Thanksgiving meals. But we are older now so this undertaking of hosting and preparing dinner has made us realize that, as much as we are unwilling to admit it, we are slowing down. Working alongside Mike in the kitchen has changed; for the first time, he welcomed my assistance in the production of the feast. In the past he would not have wanted any help whatsoever.

Taking a break

We were both up at 5:30 a.m. to get the bird ready. My job consisted of chopping celery, mushrooms, and onions along with cleaning up afterwards. My favorite part of Thanksgiving morning is that Mike traditionally makes breakfast. As the eggs were sizzling, we heard the front door open. I had a feeling it was our son Mikos. He was just in time for breakfast, but the real reason he came was to help.

Mikos had to transport the turkey from the refrigerator in the garage to the kitchen. He also had to cut up corn tortillas for the stuffing and helpe Mike with other tasks.  It was so nice having him around to help. I believe in the near future Mike will reluctantly pass the baton to our son.

Take A Long Walk

Mikos brought Rosie, their golden retriever, so after we had finished our tasks, we walked for four miles. We wanted to visit Mikos’ old middle school to see the tree and read the plaque that was dedicated to his middle school friends who lost their lives weeks apart. Like all public schools, because of all the school shootings,  the gates were locked.

Long walks clear your head, and it’s always a bonding experience. On this day I walked over six miles.

Enjoy The Feast

Jenny, our daughter-in-law, prepared three side dishes and as usual, the dinner was beyond great.  We had great conversation, then it was time for dessert and Bingo.


For the past five years we have played Bingo. I buy all the gifts at a deep discount and warn all winners that each gift is worse than the next. Since I am the caller,  sometimes I transpose the numbers, like calling out “O 17” instead of “O 71.” Because of this, Jacob (Cubby) is assigned a sit next to me to double check the numbers.

Forming A Clean-up Committee

I had already cleaned the stove, so I thought I was way ahead of the game.  Jacob,  like Mike, is a great servant. He started by picking up all the plates, including the chargers.  Our granddaughter Maddie was a great help by washing the silverware. Will dried all the chargers and stacked them up for storage.

The best advice I can offer to a guest is to help with the clean-up. I, like Mike, am a loner when cleaning the kitchen. But this time I welcomed help. Mike was still entertaining his sister and brother-in-law while I was putting away the food and washing all the dishes. I was the modern-day Martha doing all the work  (Luke 10:38-42). It was fine the first hour, but then I felt anger creeping in.

I was about ready to hang up my dish towel, when I noticed on the kitchen table the turkey. The turkey was still sitting in the same greasy pan!  “Oh, hell no!” I said to myself. I yelled for Mike to come and help. In a loud voice I said, “I can’t do this. You need to take care of the turkey!” We still had guests so Mike was kind in his reply “Ok, what do you want me to do?” The dialogue went back and forth, and I was getting a little more agitated each time. Needless to say, I took this anger to bed.


Our grandchildren

Anger can take an ugly turn, so the following morning I went to Mass and to Confession. I poured out my heart about who and why I felt such anger. I felt guilty because my speech seemed rude, but being absolved of my anger set me free.

The Christmas Card Picture

I informed our family that we were going to take our Christmas card photograph on Thanksgiving Day. None of them wanted to participate. So I suggested they come to our house on Saturday for the photograph. I asked my sweet neighbor, Victoria, to stop by at 2:30 for the photo shoot. After 35 shots, we finally agreed on one picture.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank You for allowing us another year of good health. Lord, bless Mike for all the hard work he has done this week: putting up the outdoor decorations, cooking the meal, and the love he puts into all that he does. Lord, bless Russ for helping us by getting all the boxes down, setting up the trees, moving furniture and hanging lights. Please bless Mikos, who was so gracious in helping by preparing the meal.  Bless Jenny for the love she put into all the delicious side dishes that made them taste better. And bless Sonja for her thoughtfulness and loving care in preparing all the beautiful desserts. Amen.


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