The above pictures were taken as we were preparing to enjoy our Thanksgiving meal in 2014. Just as we were about to sit down to eat, we got the call. Chuck and Danny’s dad was failing fast. They wolfed down some food, packed up and headed for Jacksonville, arriving just 15 minutes after their dad died. My father-in-law.
Now, six years later, I’ve lost three more. My mother-in-law (2017), my mom (2018), my husband (2020). Precious people who sat together for many Thanksgivings. Family who ate, told stories, laughed, loved each other.
Holidays can be hard. We miss the hugs at the front door, the smiles across the table, the hand holding, the traditions. But, we have to press on. No matter how hard a hand we’ve been dealt, there are still blessings.
Yesterday I had Thanksgiving in New Orleans with my daughters, Kat and Leah, and some of their friends. We gathered at Kat’s, and she is always the most gracious hostess.It was different, but it was good. Let me tell you about our little group.
Tim: a professional chef, Leah’s former roommate, who made the most delicious turkey I think I’ve ever had on Thanksgiving, plus some fabulous sides.
Candace: I hadn’t seen her since July. Having lost her mother to cancer, she was a big help to us when we were struggling with Chuck’s illness.
Justin and Leslie: Kat’s neighbors, California transplants, who made the best assortment of deviled eggs and laughed with us all day.
PJ: a friend of Justin and Leslie, who came in later in the afternoon with his precious Springer spaniel, Buddy.
Ruby and Poka: ever present underfoot, waiting for head pats and crumbs to fall.
We made sure to have some of our traditional family dishes: potato casserole- the recipe came from my brother’s mother-in-law years ago; a pepper cheese ball – Aunt Brenda’s recipe, miraculously made by Leah, the non-cook; Wassail; pickle tray; traditional and puppy chow Chex mixes.
For all those family we could not be with, I say in the words of Paul:
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Philippians 1:3