Sunday, November 29, 2009
My mother’s voice welcomes me home this sun
shiny day after Thanksgiving, two thousand nine.
I hug her for a long while and say "Happy
Thanksgiving" and she says it right back. The coffee
pot is perking softly in the back ground and the clock
strikes the hour. I open a diet coke and catch up with
the happenings before I go to the celebration.
The carpet of brown leaves crackle and crumble under
foot as I walk next door to my brother and sister
in-law’s country home where the feast will be. The
screen door opens and I enter.
I'm welcomed by each one I embrace with words
of greeting and a cool drink splashes
into my glass as it's placed in my hand. I visit
with each member of this family I adore. My nieces are
all grown up and adult conversations happen around me
though I still sometimes expect their child
voices to come from them."I love you" are the words
spoken by my youngest niece and I take them into my core
with this scene playing out before me.
The smells waft throughout the house and escape outdoors
amidst the chatter of humans and birds, kids and dogs
all at play, all proclaiming the significance of this day.
I hear the click of the cameras around me and the one I hold
as I try to capture bits and pieces of this Rockwell scene.
I grab my niece for a close up as we laugh at photos I click
of our shoes or just one face.
My sister-in-law is in the kitchen and our eyes meet
in the knowing of this happy scene and what it means,
she of like mind and dreams as I. She is surrounded
by her three daughters engaged in a flurry of motion
and easy talk. They know their tasks there at hand as
they mix, whip, pour, stir, and create a Thanksgiving
feast. They make light work of the huge work of art
they present in clinking bowls, casseroles and steamy pots.
The men are gathered round a huge cooker filled with
a golden brown turkey that glistens in the sun. They
joke and talk about subjects I don’t take in, I’m too
enamored by the camaraderie and deep voices of these
handsome husbands of my nieces and the newest addition,
my niece's fiancee that I met for the first time. I leave
a background of hunting stories and the clink of bottle.
It's time to gather together as we take each others
hand in prayer. A cacophony of voices buzz
in the background as we eat the grand meal and catch
up, all talking at once, sometimes in a rhythm you
can feel. Closer conversations come in more clearly
now as seven year old Hudson tells me a joke
about turkeys and little brother Harrison’s
laughter chimes in with full gusto. My niece shows
me her engagement ring and the light in her eyes
out sparkles any diamond. My brother is at the table
the one who we almost lost to cancer this year. He
looks good, though weak, and I keep sneaking peaks
to make sure of him.
Groans and moans and full bellies moved from the table
as we move around enough to make room for the desserts.
My brother throws the football to my nephews outside.
I heat them yell, “Watch Aunt Judy” as the ball falls
into their hands and they beat their papa to the tree
for a “touch down!” Their laughter rings out with along
with back slaps and congratulatory shouts. I soak
up all the sounds, smells, and feels of this day in
Prosperity, South Carolina where family noises
are free and clear and I am in a state of Thanksgiving.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Today was such a non-traditional but great day for me. I went with my friends, Eunice and Dawn, to The Biltmore Estate for the Thanksgiving buffet. The food was incredible…every single thing was so good. The place was decorated for Christmas and the buffets looked like works of art. The windows of the Deer Park Restaurant were from ceiling to roof and it just brought the outdoors in. The whole atmosphere reminded me so much of Tavern on the Green in NYC when my family and I had dinner there one night before Christmas. The day was cool, crisp, and sunny. We had perfect weather, not to mention the wonderful friends I had to spend the day with. This was such a special day for me and although I missed my family, it was a nice change for Thanksgiving day. I find it's good to break with tradition occasionally and step outside the box and that has proven true for this year's celebration.
I'm thankful for so much and so many in my life. I am so truly blessed with family and friends, too. I love each one of you. My husband, Bill; children,, Brian(who is always with me though not here on earth), Jeni:, my son-in-law, Tom and all his family who are now our family as well; my daughter, Angie, my granddaughters, Alyssa, Valerie, Brittanie, and Paige; and my great grandsons Jordon, Logan and Jake. I'm thankful for my brothers, and my mom, Bill's sisters and brother, and our extended families. For all my dear friends, too, I wish a very happy Thanksgiving and holiday season. I want to name you all but there is the fear of missing someone so I'll just say that all of you are a blessing to me.
Wednesday Evening: November 25, 2009
Today was the beginning of the holiday season for me. I have knitting class here in Asheville NC at Yarn Paradise each Wednesday. I have made a lot of very dear friends here and we always celebrate birthdays. Since I am not there for half the year to celebrate some of the birthdays I decided to have hot chocolate and cookies for them on this, my last day at knitting for the season.
I played Barista and we had a wonderful evening of knitting, lots of laughter, friendship, hot chocolate and cookies. Eunice, Dawn, Terri, Hope, Rosie, and Sandra were there and we had such a nice beginning to the holiday season. I missed the ones that weren't there. I will this wonderful group of women until I'm back in the spring.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
What a weekend. My sister-in-law, Brenda was going to Tennessee to celebrate her Mom’s (Gladys) ninety-third birthday and I decided to go to see my daughter, Angie and granddaughters. I didn’t think I’d be able to see them again before I left for Florida for the winter and spring.
There was a rock slide on I-40 sometime in October and so we had a choice of two detours to take. We knew it would add many hours onto our travel time. Brenda and I took separate cars so we formed a loose convoy. Loose because we did not follow each other much but when we would arrive at a place that looked interesting or if it was meal time, we would call each other and meet at the place that looked most interesting. The trip was relaxing and fun since we got to see different scenery than usual on our detours.
My problem happened about four hours into the trip when I realized that I was coming up on Joey’s Pancake House in Maggie Valley, where I had started out!! Oh, my. My heart sank into my gut. I called Brenda and told her I would catch up to her again or see her in Tennessee. I headed back out and enjoyed the trip. I caught up with Brenda before Gatlinburg. We ended up taking a short cut she knew from having Gladys’ parties each year in Gatlinburg. She chose a great place to eat that was also a gift shop that was a lot of fun. The restaurant is called The Moonshine Café and it was a lot of fun. There was a deer head on the wall (of course) but also a deer’s butt on the other wall.
We arrived at Angie’s house about 11 or 12 hours after we left the house. We were laughing first about me getting lost and ending up at Joeys after all that driving, and also that we could have made it all the way to Florida in the time it took us to get to Nashville. LOL
How wonderful to see Angie and hug her again. Then to see my granddaughters, Valerie and Alyssa and their boyfriends, Jon and Ira…life was good and it made it worth the trip for sure. We all went over to see Valerie and Jon’s new home not too far from ours in Mt. Juliet. They closed a couple of weeks after Angie and I closed on ours. They have done so much and it’s so cute. Valerie is a wonderful decorator I think. Their home was very comfortable and homey. I’m so glad they are so close. We all went out to O’Charley’s for dinner then and Brenda got to know everyone and we enjoyed just being together.
The next morning Alyssa and Ira went to their first football game, the Tennessee Titans and thankfully they won that game. Angie and I just enjoyed talking and catching up over coffee for a few hours before I had to leave for Gladys’ party.
The party was at Matt and Shauna’s beautiful home. Matt is Susie’s oldest son and Shauna is his wife. It was a treat to meet all of Susie (Brenda’s sister) family including grand children.
Matt is a fabulous cook and I tasted the best ribs I have ever had in my whole life. Yum! He also cooked a delicious ham on the grill. Susie’s grandchildren were so precious. Three girls and three boys. I hear about them so much and now I will be able to place them after seeing them in person.
I left and went back to Angie’s to spend some time with her before bedtime and I would have to look at another drive back to NC the next morning. Ira bought Pizza for everyone and later that night we all went out for Coca-cola cake and ice-cream. Yum! The night went too quickly and Monday morning came quickly.
I met Brenda at Panera Bread for coffee at 8a.m. We took another route home but it took the same amount of time. We didn’t get here until 7p.m. What a journey we had though. We stopped at Stonehaus Winery and we had lunch at a nice tea house outside Knoxville. As tired as we were, we also enjoyed it tremendously. We decided we would have to take these trips in the summer when I’m back here. Of course we are planning for when I-40 is open again. As much fun as we had we would not be quite as excited if we had to make these detours again. LOL
I’m so glad I got to see my daughter and grands one more time before I head to Florida for the winter. I’m also thrilled that I was there for Gladys’ 93rd birthday. It was a busy but worthwhile trip. I’m so glad we went. I already miss my family but I have more wonderful memories.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
of the past. I’ll sleep through
the night, won’t wake up in
the fetal position head pounding
in the rhythm of despair and dread.
What will save me from this acid torch
in my gut every November fourth? What
will make the day just slip by without
grief or remembrance of a son that
brought me pure joy.
How long does loss hang on and haunt
those left behind? How long before
his precious face, that comes to me
in my dreams, bring me delight in
remembrance rather than the ache
and emptyness of his absence.
This year was the life is good
this is a perfect day ruse.The
air is cool, the sun is shining
and I planned an evening with
friends day.The I won’t think
won’t acknowledge any pain day.
This isn’t the year I hit on the right
combination, the right ploy to make
this just another day of cool weather
and blue skies.Maybe next year
will be the year I find my way.
November 4, 2009