Shall we gather?
Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, nine kinds of jello salad, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs and an assortment of pies. Thanksgiving is a paradise for those of us who believe that round is a form of being in shape. It is a time for family to gather and fellowship. It’s a time that many of us watch the Macy’s parade on TV and tune in to watch either the Cowboys or the Lions lose, (most years, they might surprise me this year) and spend the day eating to much and sleeping off a turkey induced coma on the couch. I decided I would break down how Thanksgiving usually goes in our household. There seems to be a pattern after almost 10 years of marriage.
Thanksgiving starts about a week to 10 days before the actual meal. My wife, and the rest of the women in my family have decided months in advance who will be hosting the family this year. I’m sure she told me sometime around the Fourth of July where we would be going, but she probably did it while I was watching a baseball game and I only pretended like I was paying attention. She along with the other ladies have been planning the meal for weeks. There’s only going to be eight adults and four children but somehow the menu could have fed the 5,000 at the Sermon on the Mount. They divide up the dishes and each decides what they will be bringing or making on that day. This advance planning gives them all time to panic about whether the house is clean, if we need more fancy napkins, and if the turkey will be thawed out in time.
While my wife and the rest of the planning committee worries about the small details, I ponder whether it is acceptable to wear sweatpants to the meal. I mean we are all family and family pictures are kind of overrated right? I plan my day around where my spot is at the table, and where the best recliner to nap in is in the living room.
The day of Thanksgiving has its traditions in our house. I go out and feed the calves and make sure none of them need doctored, then I come back inside and watch the parade with the wife and kids. When the parade ends, it’s time to gather our things for the day, complete with the refrigerator and half of the kitchen, load up the car and head to grandma’s for the day. My wife and her mother and sister congregate in the kitchen and tell us not to eat anything because the meal will be ready by noon. My children begin playing with their cousins and I find my spot in front of the TV to watch football for the day.
When noon rolls around, and my stomach begins to growl I get yelled at for sneaking a dinner roll from the kitchen. The cooks have been busy chatting and somehow the turkey has only been in the oven for 30 minutes. I return to my plush football watching throne and hope my stolen dinner roll and the stale fruit snacks I found in the diaper bag keep me from withering away. About the time the Lions or Cowboys are getting our hopes up thinking that one of them might actually win, usually about 3-4 in the afternoon, we get the call that dinner is served. With thanks given, and plates filled, conversations are warm and hearts are filled with the joys of being together as a family.
I joke about my family on Thanksgiving, but I truly enjoy when we can all spend time together. There will be no shortage of leftovers, and no one ever goes home hungry. That’s all for this time. Happy Thanksgiving and remember to keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire. God bless.
Meinzer is a fourth-generation rancher raised on the southeastern plains of Colorado. He and his family live and ranch in Oshkosh, Neb.