Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016. Perfect.

The reviews are in and by all accounts, Thanksgiving 2016 was a raging success. The ministrations of my wife carried the day to sublime heights, earning her a record setting 16th consecutive Martha Stewart award. From a table decoration display that rivaled anything ever seen in Southern Living to a meal planning and space utilization scheme that was not only flawless but had NASA engineers scratching their heads in fascination.

Twenty souls sat down to eat around 2 o'clock. I stood to read George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation. Those two hundred year old words resonated with all of us, at the same time charming and transcendently true. Then, Pam had placed a verse of scripture at everyone's place setting with the theme of thankfulness. Each of us took a turn reading them aloud. Beautiful. Then Grandad said the blessing. These pre-meal readings took all of five minutes, but added immeasurably to the day. It calmed all of us, prepared us to be properly thankful. It was a comforting moment, a time for reflecting on our amazing good fortune as a family.

The meal was a triumph. Turkey, ham, an array of casseroles featuring cranberries, sweet potatoes, and green beans. There was stuffing, corn pudding and mashed potatoes. The dessert table was heaped with pies of every description. There was hot coffee and cider. If you fully participated from appetizer table to dessert tray, the caloric intake per person would have surpassed the weekly consumption of many of our fellow human beings from Sub-Saharan Africa. But, this was no day for Western guilt. There was a football game to play.

This year's tilt ended up being a battle between age and youth. Yours truly, my son and son-in-law, vs. my brother in law, and two of my high school aged nephews. Mixed in each lineup were our two family dogs, Lucy and Jackson. On the first play from scrimmage, Jackson was flagged for multiple penalties when he took the legs our from under his master, sending him sprawling. Not only clear pass interference, but unnecessary roughness as well. He was sidelined for the remainder of the contest. But Lucy never left the field for even one play. While it was unclear which team she was actually playing for, she was always in on the action, and particularly fond of being in the middle of any huddle that happened to form! The rugged game came down to an overtime Hail Mary which deflected off of a tree limb into the waiting arms of Mick, sending the "home team" to a crushing defeat.

After everyone left we all got in our pajamas and waddled around trying to summon the requisite energy to rouse ourselves from lounging on the sofa. For a couple of hours we had no success in this effort. Eventually Patrick and Sarah coaxed me into playing one of those New Age board games whereby no one plays to beat any other player, but rather, everyone works together to accomplish some grand project or public good( in this case, saving the world from rampaging diseases ). Clearly, this game has the ulterior motive of dulling the competitive instincts of Americans in favor of coorperative behavior. Sadly, perhaps because of my strategy of saving America first, we failed and the world was overrun with four plagues. Bummer.

By this time we were ready for turkey sandwiches and a movie. Lucy and Jackson were ready for the deep, peaceful sleep of the righteous. It was a perfect day.