First thing, I received an email from my nephew--my late older brother's only child--only to discover he has been deployed to Afghanistan.
It wasn't the news I was looking for.
Another year, another war, another pilot.
I cooked with a vengeance, and I thought about him, about the men and women with whom he would share his day today, so far from home.
My in-laws arrived, and I fed my family everything I'd spent two days cooking. The son was pleased with his mincemeat pie and the rolls I showed him how to make; the daughter smiled over the pumpkin pie she made, along with the rolls she assembled and the green bean casserole she stirred. My MIL said she couldn't eat another bite and then had seconds. My FIL poured gravy all over his plate and ate with gusto. There were toasts and laughter and discussions of other family members, near and far.
Another year, another holiday, another gathering.
And I am grateful: that I had the opportunity to wish the boy, now a man, who looks so much like his father a Happy Thanksgiving though he's half a world away. That I have my own dear little family, and an extended family who sometimes drive me crazy, but who I love nonetheless. I am grateful that I have the means and the wherewithal to put a meal on the table, to feed those I care about (and not poison them. Oh, careful as I am about food safety, I still worry about that!). And I'm grateful to those who write the books I read, the movies I watch, the music I listen to for entertaining me and challenging me. And I'm grateful to my friends, near and far, who entertain me and challenge me and feed my mind and heart.
Not every day is great; some we just endure. But each minute is a bridge to the next, a span to the future, to possibility, to potential, to the hope of something better.
Another moment, another opportunity to cherish, another door to open.
Or window, if the door doesn't present itself.
And I sat there, this afternoon, really too tired to eat, my hands sore with burns from hot pots and the oven, watching the daughter giggle and the son down glass after glass of sparkling apple cider, listening to the spouse talk with his parents and my MIL laugh over the son's Miami Vice stubble, and I was just glad, really happy, that it was all possible.
Go listen to some good music: "Tom Sawyer" by Rush from the album Moving Pictures. And the new stuffing I made was awful, but the son inexplicably loved it. A crystal salt shaker somehow broke, and I brought out the good china. Yeah, the stuff that has to be washed by hand!