Today, I made my pre-Thanksgiving pilgrimage to the grocery store before dawn. I got the last box of brown sugar and the last loaf of white bread. There were empty spaces on the shelves that you could curl up and take a nap in. I don't complain: I'm just glad to be in and out before the crowds. I was one of only a handful of customers lost in a sea of stockers. Who were already clearly loosing the battle to keep the shelves full. So, I was quite surprised with my first verbal exchange with the checker. "Good Morning!" I chirped. I am very much an early morning person. "Well, I guess all I can say is it IS morning, " she did not chirp. Oh, my. I helped her bag my groceries and then she took me to task for not scanning my debit card quickly enough. "At least there is no one behind you yet." Note to those who shop at my H.E.B.: Avoid checkout #3 at all cost today. Thanksgiving does not bring out the best in everyone.
My sister and I split the cooking duties on holidays. She does the turkey on Thanksgiving; I cook it on Christmas. The side dishes are also clearly defined. On Thanksgiving six years ago my husband and I were in separate hospitals having serious surgeries. My sister was caring for my children and running between hospitals to take care of everyone. She suggested that the unhospitalized family members should all just eat out that year. Nothing doing, said the non-cooking members of the family. She bravely cooked the turkey and sat down to a table missing two relatives. After the blessing, the first words spoken were, "Where are the mashed potatoes?" A job I was not able to complete from my hospital recovery bed. I think that is when she cried. The first time. I also think the speakers were lucky to not be wearing the gravy.
So, now we find ourselves at Thanksgiving 2008. Two out of our four children will be here. A 50% return on children scattered across the nation is something to be thankful for. I love Thanksgiving. There is not the pressure or expectations of Christmas. You get to visit and hug and eat. My husband got a good report from his MRIs and doctors today. Yes, we've come a long way from Thanksgiving 2002. Thankful for the grace and mercy God has shown us through His healing and provision. Thankful for the mashed potatoes. And thankful for all who will be at the table blessing them this year. And for those who will join us on other holidays.