Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

I didn't have time to post during our national paean to gluttony, because I was too busy, well, gluttonizing. This marks the first year that my Lovely and Brilliant Wife has hosted Thanksgiving at our house. I think that should be considered sort of a rite of passage, especially for women: the first year that you don't go to some other woman's house and partake of her meal. It's like moving from daughter (or daughter-in-law) to mother. Since it was also her first holiday with the title "Grandma," it seems fittin' for her to savor her matriarchal moment.

I took the afternoon off on Wednesday to drive over to Tacoma and get Wharf Rat, her boyfriend and the grandchild, then stop off and pickup Long Drink on the way back. That was the plan, anyway. As it happens, someone went and moved around all the roads between Seattle and Tacoma so that none of them look like they did twenty-odd years ago when I lived there. After an eternity creeping along in holiday weekend traffic and twice - twice! ending up on I-5 going the wrong direction, I finally collected up all the young 'uns and we made it back home around midnight.

(Incidentally, what's the correct way to designate Wharf Rat's chap? They're not married, so "son-in-law" is obviously out. They live together (for now, in her mother's overcrowded apartment, God help them!), so "boyfriend" or "gentleman friend" both seem too transitory. "Baby Daddy" is revolting on several levels, not least of which is grammatical. "Partner" carries the baggage of being used as a homosexual epuhemism. All I can think of is "pseudo-son-in-law." So until I get a better suggestion, PSIL it is.)

The day itself was not without hitches. The cooking had to be done in shifts, as different kids tackled different dishes. The dining room table collapsed as we were setting it (before the food was laid out on it, praise be) and had to be shored up with TV trays and a two-by-four. Long Drink (12) and Drama Queen (oh, so 13) had to be dispatched to Dollar Tree for wineglasses, as it turned out that all of ours had been broken over the last year.

But it all came together beautifully. The kids pulled it off with nary a bicker, which in our house is right up there with loaves and fishes. They pitched in on cleaning up after dinner without nagging. Visigoth (4) and Ostrogoth (2) ran out of attention span before the rest of us ran out of appetite, so I spent much of the meal corralling them rather than eating. (I actually had my big plate of turkey and stuffing for breakfast this morning.) After dinner we test-played a game that Covarr (19) bought for the church youth group, which he helps lead. And there was Christina presiding over it all with justifiable pride. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. It was like living in a Hallmark Channel special.

We've got a lot to be thankful for. Both the PSIL and I have gainful, family-supporting employment, our house is safe, everyone's in good health, and the prospects for next year are looking good. Someone online (I forget who) said they always watch "It's a Wonderful Life" on Thanksgiving rather than Christmas. It's a good time for it, especially with the economy tightening up. We may be worried about this or that, but the reality is, things could be a heap worse. This time last year, I was sure it would be by now. Thank God we live in Bedford Falls; it could so easily be Pottersville. I may not be the richest man in Moses Lake, but you couldn't prove it by yesterday.

In which vein, here it is. Replay your favorite parts while you wallow in gratitude.

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