After the five days with family coming and going at Woodsong for Thanksgiving, the house is quiet now with just Gerald and me here. The leftovers have been eaten up or frozen. Big platter put away on top shelf. Fall decorations put away. Before the week is up, I hope to tackle the beds to get them in shape for Christmas company.
When Mary Ellen brought me home on Wednesday from a stress test at Carbondale, Jeannie and Rick and their little dogs Lucky and Leah were soon here. Gerald was meeting with the farm tax man preparing for the end of the year. Although she did not know I would be gone all morning, Jeannie had PMed me [Translation: Private Messaged on Facebook] the night before not to worry about their lunch, and so I didn’t. Later that day Cecelie and her boyfriend Ryan arrived, and there were six at the kitchen supper table. Soon Trent and Brianna came over and pulled up a chair before the younger generation started their cousin activities.
Mike and Leslie and their dogs Millie and Sidney arrived Thanksgiving morning from Nashville. Mike, a competitive weight lifter as well as personal trainer, was ready to help Katherine be able to join us. Her van was at the shop, and so she could not come in her motorized wheelchair as she has done in the past. Mike was able to lift her into the hand-pushed chair we used to use successfully and then into the car, out of the car, and back into the chair to be with the family.
Her aide followed us to the farm and stayed to help Katherine at the table until time for her to go to her own family gathering. I wish I could say it was a successful visit for Katherine, but that chair has become extremely painful now. After she had secured at aide at the last minute for the holiday, Katherine had assured me she would be okay not to join us, and I felt bad at how much she suffered to come. But she did get to see everyone and catch up with the rest of us on all the family news and see Cecelie as a brunette. I was very glad for her to have a day out of that hospital bed with her high intelligence so bored by television. Mike and Rick helped take her home and put her in bed just as her aide arrived to take over.
Although there were 14 here for dinner, an entire branch of our immediate family was celebrating in Texas. My sister’s large family has always celebrated there, and my brother’s family in central Illinois. Gerry and Vickie’s family haven’t been able to automatically make holidays since they moved out of state. That is appropriate as years pass and family spreads out. This year, however, Elijah traveled to Texas on his break to visit Sam and also his Illinois State friends down there. Sam and girlfriend Anna were playing with the Baylor band (in the rain) that weekend. So Elijah, Sam, and Anna joined their cousin Erin and the Archibald gang at Gerry and Vickie’s house. The only one not at either Woodsong or College Station was our Geri Ann, all alone in Oregon. Of course, she had friends there, but we were all thinking of her and wanting her with us. She will soon be home for Christmas break though.
Preparing for the cold winter ahead, Jeannie was riding her bicycle anytime the weather allowed it. After she filled the slow cooker with her healthy green beans we all like and fixed another crock pot with potatoes to bake, she took off. With a 2 o’clock dinner planned, it wasn’t necessary for me to get up early and put on the turkey this year. (Yes, just as Gerald predicted, it was nearer 3 or maybe after before we actually sat down to eat.) As always, Mary Ellen was busy cooking at her house making her yummy corn casserole her kids requested and the green bean casserole the men like. She’d brought over pies the day before. All the grandkids pitched in and helped prepare the dinner. Cecelie and Ryan set the tables and prepared pre-dinner snack trays. Brianna fried the required okra for us, and Trent stirred the giblet gravy until it thickened. Leslie had opened and bowled two cans of cranberry sauce and provided other help, but the home-made apple pie she brought proved she can cook as well as she can sing. I don’t know what else everyone did since I was with Mike getting Katherine here. Everyone put the food on the buffet and the little tables Gerald set up for us.
The cutest thing at the dinner besides my three granddaughters was the tray of adorable turkeys the grandkids made the night before. Somehow Oreo cookies and chocolates and candy corn were put together to create the little birds. They were so cute I couldn’t eat one, but I sure enjoyed seeing them!
The next day toward evening Gerry arrived after traveling through Texas rain. He was on his way to pick up bird dogs and to hunt with friends in the Carolinas. He had not been able to sleep Thanksgiving night and finally gave up and hopped out of bed and started earlier than he meant to. I think he may have pulled off the road to rest some, but he was tired out when he got here and meant to shower and go straight to bed. Even so, he stayed up when the gang gathered for supper and generously kept us laughing with his stories. Sometime during the evening, Elijah arrived from Texas and joined his cousins in their evening plans.
Early the next morning Gerry and Gerald went to someone’s house for breakfast with bird dog friends; and after picking up dogs, Gerry started off for the last lap of his journey east somewhat later in the morning than planned.
On Friday and Saturday people were sleeping in, seeing friends, and going shopping for bargains. Jeannie and Rick left at noon Saturday, and then Cecelie and Ryan and finally Elijah left Sunday during the morning. Gerald and I rested and watched our favorite preacher on his computer before we came upstairs and began eating left-overs. My first-to-arrive Christmas card was in the mailbox Monday and as always from Valerie Martin, my cousin's Jack widow. This morning on the breakfast table, I found a note from Gerald saying he was going to Union County to have breakfast with his brothers. Life has returned to normal.
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