Thursday, November 27, 2008

Two Tables for Thanksgiving

Thanks in the Dining Room & in the Heart
by Sharon Randall

"We're having Thanksgiving dinner at home again this year. I guess I can't complain. Three turkeys in 28 years of marriage doesn't exactly make me a martyr. The first time I hosted the annual family feeding frenzy was so long ago I can barely recall it now. Except when I hear a smoke alarm; then I recall it clear as a bell.

My family remembers it too it seems, because since then we've had Thanksgiving dinner anywhere but here. However last year things changed. Funny, isn't it? We like to think that family is a constant, a kind of rock that never changes. But even rocks can change, given enough time, enough pressure. Families change too, over time, and under pressure. They recreate themselves every day. A birth, a death, a marriage, a divorce, a move to another city. The changes may be good or bad; makes no difference, really. What matters is what we do with them.

It's good to remember who we were and where we came from. But it's better to know who we are and where we're going. We need to talk less about how things used to be, and more about how they are. We did that last year, my husband and I took a look at our family and decided the traditions that had served us so well for so long no longer seemed to fit. It had been a rugged year, dealing a series of blows that struck us individually and as a family. My mother died. My father-in-law had to be placed in a rest home. And my husband had yet another surgery for cancer, only to be told a few months later that the disease had spread to his liver.

So when it came time to plan Thanksgiving we took a family vote and I lost - 4 to 1 - meaning I had to stay home and cook. It wasn't bad, really. We invited some friends - who are like family - except they help. We all said, "Best Thanksgiving ever." Nobody said, "Best turkey ever," but I take compliments where I can get them. So we're going to do it again this year. We invited the same friends and they accepted. I took that as a compliment, too. And my sister is coming from South Carolina. Her children are all grown and if she stayed home they'd expect her to cook, she said. I'll wait until she gets off the plane to tell her about my plan.

On Thanksgiving day, while she wrestles the turkey, I will set two tables - one in my dining room, the other in my heart. And I will seat, in fact or in spirit, all the people I've known and loved. No, I won't be feeding them all. But I will be thankful for them. It will be the best Thanksgiving ever. Because now is the only time that counts. Who can say what another year will bring? I wish you your best Thanksgiving ever. It's the only one that counts."

I copied this from a daughter-in-law of a dear friend who passed away this year. Certainly a tear jerker but so true! Happy Thanksgiving to all.

No comments: