Thanksgiving’s over. Done. Finished.
The only thing left is the leftovers, which still are crowded into my fridge taking up all available shelf space and filling every Tupperware container I have ever, or ever hope to own.
Now that my house is quiet and still and pretty much empty, I allow my mind to drift, kind of like the last leaves of autumn, back to the event, itself.
I wanted a picture perfect Thanksgiving. In my mind, I visualized it. Seriously. I visualized my humble little abode magically transformed into looking sort of like the centre spread of a Better Homes and Garden Magazine.
Perfectly set table. Matched everything. Chairs, dishes, silverware!
And the meal. Oh my goodness, it was to be one of those Betty Crocker or other famous homemaker type person type meal. Delicious.
And, of course, I, as the perfect hostess, would sit, demure, eyes downcast, smoothing my cute little apron, saying things like, “it was nothing, really!”
As it turned out, none of the above happened, but, sometimes, it seems reality is even better than fantasy.
It wasn’t perfect, it was so much less than perfect, but even as the edges of perfection got all blurred with spilled doses of reality, I knew that once again, it was the best Thanksgiving ever.
We sat 22 people around one table and one makeshift table, all pulled together. I shook the wrinkles out of my new Thanksgiving tablecloth and laid out my best china and silverware until there wasn’t any more to lay out. I surveyed the scene, with a critical eye, finished off with my mismatched set of this and that and called it good.
And it was!
Because, of course, it’s not the matched perfection that makes it perfect, anyway. I know that in my head, even if I forget sometimes.
And, so even as the wind got all huffy and blew huge swirls of leaves around ferociously, and political debates raged somewhere, and world events remained chaotic and unsettled, things inside my house remained calm and happy.
We were in the eye of the storm and it was good.
I had the honor; the absolute honor of cradling a seven-week old baby in my arms for a few precious minutes, before his mom, hovering, the way moms do, took him back into protective custody.
I received a sticky, delightful kiss from my one-year-old grandson, who, upon finishing his dinner which he had shoved into his mouth the way one-year-olds do, flung the tray of his highchair back so all the remaining food fell on the floor. He laughed, and gave me another sticky kiss and, for some reason, I laughed too, feeling happy, ridiculously so.
I was gifted with flowers, pumpkin pies, salads, desserts and, most importantly, hugs.
And people, in comfortable disorganized order, spilled in and out of my kitchen, scraping vegetables, cleaning, and doing other nice things until finally everything got done.
And in the end, when all the dishes were washed, dried and put away, I was once again gifted with a special and timely gift.
The gift of music.
Someone played the guitar and the rest of us sang with the kids, and finally, they all spilled out into the warm night air, still singing, B-I-N-G-O.
“Thank you,” they all said, “thank you, thank you, thank you for a lovely day.”
“No”, I said. “Thank you”
And, I meant it. I truly did, because without the people to sit in the mismatched chairs and eat from the mismatched plates, I wouldn’t have had those moments to remember.
And that wouldn’t be good. Not good at all!