My mother’s voice welcomes me home this sun
shiny day after Thanksgiving, two thousand nine.
I hug her for a long while and say "Happy
Thanksgiving" and she says it right back. The coffee
pot is perking softly in the back ground and the clock
strikes the hour. I open a diet coke and catch up with
the happenings before I go to the celebration.
The carpet of brown leaves crackle and crumble under
foot as I walk next door to my brother and sister
in-law’s country home where the feast will be. The
screen door opens and I enter.
I'm welcomed by each one I embrace with words
of greeting and a cool drink splashes
into my glass as it's placed in my hand. I visit
with each member of this family I adore. My nieces are
all grown up and adult conversations happen around me
though I still sometimes expect their child
voices to come from them."I love you" are the words
spoken by my youngest niece and I take them into my core
with this scene playing out before me.
The smells waft throughout the house and escape outdoors
amidst the chatter of humans and birds, kids and dogs
all at play, all proclaiming the significance of this day.
I hear the click of the cameras around me and the one I hold
as I try to capture bits and pieces of this Rockwell scene.
I grab my niece for a close up as we laugh at photos I click
of our shoes or just one face.
My sister-in-law is in the kitchen and our eyes meet
in the knowing of this happy scene and what it means,
she of like mind and dreams as I. She is surrounded
by her three daughters engaged in a flurry of motion
and easy talk. They know their tasks there at hand as
they mix, whip, pour, stir, and create a Thanksgiving
feast. They make light work of the huge work of art
they present in clinking bowls, casseroles and steamy pots.
The men are gathered round a huge cooker filled with
a golden brown turkey that glistens in the sun. They
joke and talk aboutsubjects I don’t take in, I’m too
enamored by the camaraderie and deep voices of these
handsome husbands of my nieces and the newest addition,
my niece's fiancee that I met for the first time. I leave
a background of hunting stories and the clink of bottle.
It's time to gather together as we take each others
hand in prayer. A cacophony of voices buzz
in the background as we eat the grand meal and catch
up, all talking at once, sometimes in a rhythm you
can feel. Closer conversations come in more clearly
now as seven year old Hudson tells me a joke
about turkeys and little brother Harrison’s
laughter chimes in with full gusto. My niece shows
me her engagement ring and the light in her eyes
out sparkles any diamond. My brother is at the table
the one who we almost lost to cancer this year. He
looks good, though weak, and I keep sneaking peaks
to make sure of him.
Groans and moans and full bellies moved from the table
as we move around enough to make room for the desserts.
My brother throws the football to my nephews outside.
I heat them yell, “Watch Aunt Judy” as the ball falls
into their hands and they beat their papa to the tree
for a “touch down!” Their laughter rings out with along
with back slaps and congratulatory shouts. I soak
up all the sounds, smells, and feels of this day in
Prosperity, South Carolina where family noises
are free and clear and I am in a state of Thanksgiving.
November 23, 2009