The house was filled with noise bright and early on Thanksgiving morning. Various family members were aroused from their beds and came out to greet and gather in the kitchen. Sleeping in the basement I could hear the pitter patter of feet above me on the wood floor. My father’s voice became very distinct and so was his loud and echoing laugh. I start to emerge from my lair of a sleeping bag and fumble for my phone. I was hoping that everyone slept in and it was really ten am, but in all reality it was 8:30 am. I grumble and slink back down under the covers as I try to drown out the morning din above. It was too early to be awake! It was a holiday for crying out loud! There was no use in trying to get back to bed and the advantage of waking up early was being able to hop in the shower before anyone else. I fling out of my covers so the cold won’t shock me too much and I tip-toe to my suitcase, the ceramic floor biting at my bare feet. I grab my clothes for the day, shower stuff and head upstairs. To my triumph the bathroom is free! So I take the quickest shower I can, since there were several others that would probably want to have the same morning ritual.
After my warm, refreshing shower, I feel somewhat awake and ready for some breakfast. I come out to the kitchen and greet the smiling faces of my family members. My eyes move to the two apple coffee cakes sitting on the kitchen table looking quite delicious. The cakes are covered in a milky, white glaze and one had already been cut into. I sit down next to my grandmother and lean over to give a kiss to her, she smiles. My dad comes over to me flinging a spatula around. “Would you like some eggs!” He asks enthusiastically. I politely decline and he moves to the next person. He was bound and determined to make, whomever wanted, a nice, big breakfast. Everyone was pretty much satisfied with the coffee cake my mom had made. One by one my boy cousins and brother started to trickle out of the bedroom, about an hour later. I was envious of their ability to sleep through anything, except they had stayed up until three am…It was a wonder they hadn’t slept through the whole day. Pretty soon the whole house was awake and the kitchen table became a game of musical chairs. Someone ate then got up and that seat was taken before anyone knew it. And it kept on rotating, until everyone got a turn. For most of the morning we spent our time there until my sister had to leave. She had to make it back to Winchester in time for work at five. The joys of working at Cracker Barrel. She left and everyone in the kitchen dispersed, the boys to play video games, my dad went to hang out with his brothers etc…and my mom, grandma, sister and I moved into make the Thanksgiving feast.
I stuck around wanting to help, mainly because I did not want to have kitchen duty afterwards. I grabbed a knife and started working on the potatoes. My sister and her fiance sat at the kitchen island peeling, while I cut them into chunks and put them in pans. Two huge pans sat before me on the stove and each were eventually filled to the brim. I got excited just looking at it, knowing those vats of potatoes would be whipped and creamed to become mashed potatoes. After cutting up two whole bags of Idaho potatoes my hand was pretty cramped and there was nothing else to be done, so I went and grabbed mom’s camera and started snapping pictures. My parents were so bad at taking pictures of events, if I had not thought of it, the camera would have sat on their nightstand the whole day. After snapping a few candid shots I left the house and went to visit my friend who lived five minutes away. He works for the Bristol paper and so that meant he had to work that day. I wanted to see him before he headed into the office. When I came back home, two large tables had been set up in the living room and the smell of turkey wafted through the house. The family was pretty much gathered together again all waiting in anticipation for the meal. I saw some new faces, like my dad’s mom and her husband, so I greeted them with big hugs. I had been reunited with a lot of family members that day.
I wasn’t completely famished but I knew my sister and the oldest cousin were because we sat around and they couldn’t stop talking about how excited they were to eat. As we sat around the living room looking at the empty tables, we had someone go and check on the meal about every five minutes.
Soon we were all gathered into the kitchen, creating a giant circle around the perimeter. There were some jokes as to who would start the line as people shuffled places around the room and then we joined hands and gave thanks. My uncle offered a prayer and so did my grandma and we stood there quietly contemplating to ourselves what it was we were thankful for. With amens the feast began. I stood back, camera in hand, letting the family take their places in line and wait for their turn to fill the plates with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, casseroles, rolls…and the list goes on. I was one of the last to grab my food and then made my way to the back porch to eat. It was such a beautiful day, I could not pass up the opportunity, so there I sat with my older sister, her fiance and my dad and we all ate together. It tasted so good, like every year before that. Weeks and hours of preparation were inhaled in ten minutes or so, but the digestion took even longer. The rest of the day was spent in taking naps and sitting around lazily.
I knew at some point I had to say goodbye and make my way back to Nashville, something I was dreading and looking forward to all at the same time. I was sad to miss the evening fun because that was when everyone got most of their energy and we usually did something really exciting. Like all pile in our van and go to the Speedway in Lights at the Bristol motor speedway, or spend all evening playing group games…sure, the meal was a good part of the day, but spending time together was the best part. Reluctantly I went around the room, hugging the necks of each family member, grateful I got to see them all and headed 0ut the door. The goodbye wasn’t elaborate or sentimental, which I was glad, and soon I was on my way home.
I love driving, especially on the interstate late at night. The roads were clear, no one likes traveling on a holiday, so it was to my advantage. The last two hours it rained, which helped because I had to be alert. I had 40 minutes left of the trip and my wind shield wipers gave out and of course then I could not see. I stopped on the side of the road, got out (it was still coming down pretty hard) and I tried to fix them. They seemed to be okay, but once I got back up to speed they gave out again and there I was, stranded on the side of the road. I called my other sister (the one that stayed in Nashville) and get her and her boyfriend to come and get me. I drove to the nearest exit, which was a mistake because it was so creepy. The gas station did not even have a bathroom and people hung around outside smoking and…maybe even other stuff. I locked my doors and huddled down in my seat and just waited. The rain let up a little bit and I took the opportunity to drive to the next exit and thankfully it was much more busy and a lot of shops and such around me so I felt somewhat safer. I sat in a Waffle House parking lot and waited for them to come, luckily I had blankets and a book in my car so I was able to pass the time feeling cozy. They came and got me and the boyfriend says we are going to switch cars and so he drove my car home, which made me nervous, but glad he was able to brave it. I was so happy to finally be home, but I was quite exhausted from the week I spent with my family.
It was a pleasant Thanksgiving.
There is my narrative tale of the day, hope you enjoyed it and hope you ate plenty of turkey and was able to spend the day with someone special.
Now for the Christmas season!