Grammy’s Thanksgiving has always been a bit special. It is the catch-all dinner. By that, I don’t mean a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving where we eat popcorn, toast, and whatever else the cupboard has to offer–no, I mean it is the place where every lonely heart is welcome. It has become a slow-grown tradition over the years that we try to find a person in our lives to invite to Mom’s for Thanksgiving. As Jeanne always says “You never know when it is Jesus at the door.” So just to be sure we don’t miss him, we all bring a lonely soul to be a part of the pot-luck feast for our family. One year it was my sister’s sister-in-law (may perpetual light shine upon her) who, a few short years later, died suddenly and very young from a blood clot. Looking back on the years and the special guests, there is something to be gained from each memory in the form of a refreshed sense of gratitude.
Every year the kids like to be a part of things by making some kind of small craft or game for the big feast. This year our idea was inspired by an empty paper towel tube on the counter. Last weekend, little Juan Diego (LB’s little brother, who LOVES Our Lady of Guadalupe) said “Can I have that, Mom?” JD makes a collection out of any willing thing, and commonly uses recyclables to create a Pokemon stadium or other arena for battles of every kind. “I was kinda thinking of using this one,” I said, drawing a look of surprise from my little recycler. A few days before, rummaging through the craft boxes in the basement for JD’s school Advent project, I found feathers, black and brown felt, and some pretty colored wood beads. I had LB’s little sis (who we will call “Cirque” for her perpetual twisting and flipping motions seen in the likes of the famous Cirque de Soleil) take construction paper strips and tape them around the paper towel tubes, cut up into small rings, about two inches wide. We will spend tomorrow putting feathers and beads and little felt pilgrim hats them to decorate Grammy’s Thanksgiving table with a personal touch of Indian and Pilgrim napkin rings. Cirque, spent an hour the other day cutting out a turkey body and feathers, so that everyone at Grammy could write down something for which they are grateful on a feather and adhere it to Mr. Tom Turkey. An idea strictly from the heart of her bendy little self. The kids decided that everyone should enjoy a hot chocolate for dessert this year, so we are also bringing along two boxes of cocoa mix (buy one/get one coupon this past Sunday!) and whipped cream. We will sprinkle cocoa powder on top and stick a candy-cane in the mix, as inspired by my mocha-peppermint flavored coffee creamer that has Cirque dying to have a cup of Joe. Whatever this year brings, contributing to the feast with a friend, craft or cup of cocoa, makes everyone feel grateful!