|Again, at Ken's house
This is the fourth year we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving with my brother Ken. His wife passed away last May and at that time, he was adamant that the annual feast would go on and he hoped we’d be there.
As Ken does EVERYTHING for the meal, he would follow the same routine. Except this time, we would miss his dear wife who, by the way, kept him calm during the pre-meal frenzy. We gave him several opportunities to back out but he didn’t so we packed up the car and headed south.
We drive part way on Tuesday and then the rest on Wednesday. The drive through the Smokey Mountains is always pleasant. This time, we veered off and drove to Deal’s Gap (TN state highway 129) that winds through 120 curves in 11 miles. It’s a motorcycle destination and even at the end of the season, we shared the road with many bikes.
|cousin and sister
I DO remember those times where we preceded family trips with the packing of the cooler: healthy snacks, sandwiches, soda and water. Dad would drive and his plan was always to NOT STOP until we got wherever we were going. That part hasn’t changed but this time, our supplies included beef jerky, string cheese, some stray graham crackers and Snapple.
I guess we’ve reached the age where we fret less about nutrition. Anyway, we were headed toward some really good eating.
The gathering included cousins, nieces, sisters, nephews, aunts, neighbors, special friends plus a whole pile of high schoolers. We all agreed that we would not talk politics, a wise decision as some of these people just get it all wrong!!! (oh) The feast was spectacular. Ken preceded Grace with some remarks about what this last year has meant. We remembered Janelle, shed a few tears, and thanked God for His blessings. We know that as we miss her, she is safe with her savior. In Heaven, it’s Thanksgiving all the time.
|Britt, Mike, Lynne, Jan, Ken
After dinner, we gravitated to activity centers: the game on TV; the impossible jigsaw puzzle; the wine and cheese group in the living room; the newspaper readers at the kitchen table. Little ones ran around, in and outdoors, playing with dogs.
|A quiet place to rest
The next day, we took a routine trip to Ken’s Starbuck’s. Then, we drove out to the cemetery to visit the Hayes spot. Before long, it was time for sister Janis to catch her plane. Then, early Saturday, we saw Mom off to Melbourne. Mike and I climbed back into the car for the trip home.
Not too many people asked about how Mike is doing. But those who did (and do) get our standard answer these days: “He’s vertical. We’re living our life.”
And tomorrow, that life slides back into routine.
(me and my baby brother)
(me and my baby brother)