I'm guessing you are all thinking that I was buried under a snowdrift and won't emerge until the spring thaw in about 6 months. Actually, I have been silent because I've had nothing to say. I was just thinking this morning that it will be so good to get on the road in January, as then there will be a multitude of subjects for posts!
But in the meantime, I don't even have to clean my house for Thanksgiving as we are not celebrating here. Oh, yes, we are thankful. Very thankful. God has been so good to us again this year, and we praise and thank Him for His many blessings. We are just not holding the annual family dinner at our place! Our oldest daughter, Kari , offered to host the gang this year. Kari is an awesome cook, so it only makes sense for her to do the honors and treat us to her world famous apple pies. She really doesn't have much more room for dining than we do, but she has a big empty basement room and the kids have their own bedrooms to hang out in. We have a combination living room, dining room and kitchen, and our bedroom and the sewing/office/extra room. Not much space to entertain our huge clan! Thank you Kari and Mike for offering your home! Now I had best do my part and call everyone to let them know the plans.
Over the past 46 years (yes, I've been married that long......remember I was 4 when I got married!) the Thanksgiving meal has always been the biggest, most elaborate meal of the year, mostly cooked by me at our place. Our first Thanksgiving, after we had just married the previous month, was a quiet celebration as we were far away from home, in Spokane, Washington where Ernie was stationed with the Air Force. I can't remember that we did anything special, maybe we dined on a hamburger and macaroni casserole instead of the 11 cents a can tomato soup that made up most of our meals. However, I do remember our second Thanksgiving. We had been transferred to Bangor, Maine, all the way across the United States from Spokane! Our daughter, Kari , was a tiny infant, there was snow and ice on the ground, and we were invited to our new friends, Sharron and Ken's apartment for dinner. We had split the cost and the work of the dinner, and I remember it was hilarious! I think we had a 20 pound turkey for the four of us! We made a huge roaster full of dressing and a kettle full of gravy, we peeled 10 pounds of potatoes, and created a huge pistachio pudding, whipped topping, mini marshmallow salad. I think we had at least two kinds of pie......all this for four people! We could have fed another two dozen people and still had leftovers! I do remember the feeling of extreme thankfulness that we had found friends to celebrate with, as both Ernie and I came from huge families and we would have been horribly lonely if we hadn't celebrated the holiday in a familiar manner.
For the next decade and a half, our Thanksgiving celebrations were similar to that second one. We were stationed in various spots around the country, never close enough to run home for the day, and we spent our holidays with friends instead of family. Once we had become a family ourselves, we always shared these special meals with the young single troops who lived in the barracks. Often I was the only female at a table full of males, mostly 19 or 20 year old guys who were away from home for the first time. They always seemed to enjoy being in a home instead of a dining hall, playing with our kids, and lounging on the furniture in front of the ever present football games on the TV. And we loved having them join us for the day. We kept up this tradition until Ernie retired from the Air Force, so towards the end when Kari was 14 or 15, the presence of the not much older airmen became quite interesting!
Now our own family is much larger, and spread out so that we don't all get together in one spot. We would fill a banquet hall if we did all gather together: Ernie and I, seven kids, seven spouses or significant others, fifteen grandkids, one married and at least three others with girl/boy friends......whew! That's well over thirty! I guess we don't have room for the young troops anymore, and I kind of miss that. Besides, there is no Thanksgiving at my house this year!