Thursday, November 24, 2016

To Mom and Dad's House We Go

I got an early start, so I could get everything packed and ready before Rose arrived. Finished out the book on Thanksgiving history Linda Young gave me last year, then did the Thanksgiving material in Colliers. They had an essay on the First Thanksgiving, lyrics to the song "Over the River and Through the Woods", and a couple of Thanksgiving hymns and poems.

Found a short story in the early 60's Storybookland anthology collection that was Thanksgiving-themed, "Pilgrim's Party." Mickey takes the Disney gang to the real Plymouth to enjoy a recreated Pilgrims and Indians holiday feast. It's all fun and pilgrim cosplay...until Pluto steals the turkey!

Kit Kitteredge is facing a tough Thanksgiving in the last two chapters of Kit Learns a Lesson. Her parents are in dire financial straights. thanks to the Great Depression. They've been taking in boarders to make ends meet, but Kit's tired of the endless chores and feeling like people are invading her home. She's sure that her father will find a job soon. When she and her friends Ruthie and Stirling takes the basket from their school's food drive to a soup kitchen, Kit's shocked to see someone familiar in the bread line...and learns a lesson about being grateful for those around her.

Ran cartoons while I ate breakfast and got organized. It's A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving when Peppermint Patty invites herself, Marcie, and Franklin over for dinner. Trouble is, Chuck's going over to his grandmother's for dinner. Peppermint Patty's upset by the simple meal of toast, ice cream, jelly beans, and pretzels she's offered, until Linus and Marcie remind their friends of the real reason for the holiday.

The Mayflower Voyagers also deals with the history behind the holiday. In fact, some of the same things discussed in Mouse and the Mayflower are also touched on here, including the beam in the Mayflower that cracked in a storm and nearly caused the travelers to turn back. The Peanuts gang play pilgrim kids and the ship's dog and hen, who find themselves dealing with the hardship of a harsh winter and losing family in the New World. When local Indians come out of hiding and agree to help, it's a true miracle...and a real reason to give thanks.

Garfield's Thanksgiving isn't as heartfelt at first. Garfield's livid when Liz the Veterinarian puts him on a diet the day before the holiday, then Jon invites her for dinner. Which would be nice if Jon had any idea of how to cook a turkey, or if his mind was on the food rather than romance. Good thing Grandma from the Christmas special is around to make things right.

Did two quick Mickey Mouse black-and-white shorts while waiting for Rose. He's "The Grocery Boy" who delivers food for Minnie's big meal, and even helps her cook. Once again, Pluto's desire for turkey causes all sorts of problems. "Mickey's Good Deed" takes us back to the bleak Depression years. Mickey and Pluto are playing music on the street for pennies. When Mickey tries to help a mother with a passel of kittens who won't be getting presents, he gives up what means the most to him to get the money. His own Christmas seems bare...until he gets a nice surprise in the end.

Rose and her family picked me up around 10:30. We had no problems getting down to Erma whatsoever. The roads were clear. It rained a little while we were on the interstate, but by the time we were in Dennisville in southern Cape May County, it was just cloudy and damp. Khai spent the entire hour and a half playing Mario games on his Nintendo DS and cuddling his two-foot stuffed deer. I read Shadows of the Empire and talked to his parents about Thanksgivings and holidays when we were younger.

We arrived around noon. Everyone else was already there. The kids are getting so darn big! One and a half year old Lilah can walk just fine now. Her big thing is dinosaurs. She was thrilled with the realistic plastic toy dinosaurs Khai brought with him. Skylar spent most of the early afternoon watching Paw Patrol on Nick Jr. and Spongebob Square Pants on Nickelodeon. He's 12, almost a teenager, as he reminded everyone several times.

Collyn is 7, the closest to Khai's age. They were inseparable all day. We were in and out all afternoon. When we were indoors, we'd play with all the toys in the playroom/laundry room and eat the big appetizer spread Mom had out for lunch. There was a vegetable tray, a yummy cheese ball covered in breadcrumbs, fancy crackers, fresh crab meat with cocktail sauce for dipping, and Mom's home-made ranch dip.

When we were outside, the boys mostly rode scooters or bikes. Anny's boyfriend Jay went back to their house at one point to get Skylar's bike. (It's an older bike they found for 20 dollars at a yard sale, but it seems to have cleaned up really well. Sky had no problems doing wheelies on it, anyway.)

At one point, the boys got so rambunctious, Jay and I took them for a walk/scooter ride/bike ride around the neighborhood. All the boys' yelling attracted a bit of attention. They watched one little boy ride a motor bike. Another, younger boy in his pajamas ran outside and watched all of us stroll, ride, and push by.

At least it was a nice day for it. By the time we were on our walk, the sun had come out. The morning chill had become warm late-fall sunshine. It was really lovely, though thankfully not quite as warm as last Thanksgiving, probably into the mid-50's. The last of the bright red and gold fall leaves seemed to glow in sunlight. A few folks in their neighborhood already had up holiday decorations. Most settled for round orange pumpkins or leaf-strewn banners.

When we returned, Jay went inside to talk to Anny. I opted to stay out and keep an eye on the boys. Skylar and Collyn ran races with two kids about Skylar's age, Geo and Nicholas. While the boys raced on foot and on scooters, I pulled Khai down Mom and Dad's dead-end street in their red metal Radio Flyer wagon.

(Talk about memories. I've been doing that with various siblings since I was old enough to move the wagon on my own. I used to pull Anny in her metal Radio Flyer wagon in the late 80's. Keefe had a wooden variation in the early 90's that he loved, then a thick plastic one. When he was really little, I used to take him to the movies in that wagon.)

After Skylar went back inside, Collyn, Khai, and I went in the backyard. The boys grabbed colorful plastic water guns and pretended to shoot zombies. I figured "why not play along?", grabbed a gun, and told them I was Princess Leia. I had a great time chasing the boys around the yard and in one of Mom and Dad's sheds, but whew, did they wear me out! I'm not used to running around with two energetic kids for several hours.

We finally had dinner around quarter of 4. Dinner was Mom's usual wonderful feast. Along with turkey (that came out just fine this year), there were pearl onions in white sauce, carrots in honey glaze, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, and a new cornbread sausage stuffing recipe Mom wanted to try. Oh yummm. I had everything but the mashed potatoes (I'm not the biggest fan of white potatoes), and it was all amazing. I might have to e-mail Mom for the sausage stuffing recipe.

(The only person who wasn't happy was Skylar. He was very upset that he wasn't allowed to sit at the adults' table. He argued with his mother about it before and after the meal.)

I went back out with Collyn and Khai after dinner. We continued with the zombie apocalypse at first. As it began to get dark, we switched to tag, then to hide and seek. Lilah even joined us at one point. The boys loved that. Despite the small size of Mom and Dad's backyard, there's all kids of places small children can wedge themselves into. Collyn in particular was having so much fun, he wasn't happy when we had to drag him inside. The desserts were out, it was too dark for me to find the kids anymore, and sometime between dinner and our zombie battle, it had clouded over again and was starting to shower.

Mom makes the best pumpkin pie ever. Collyn and I both swarmed towards that as soon as we got in. She had real whipped cream for it, too. I was too full from dinner and lunch to have more than a slice of that, one of Anny's "turkey legs" (Rice Krispies Treats shaped like turkey legs, with white chocolate-covered pretzels and marshmallows as the bone), and a couple of Mom's famous chocolate chip cookie bars. Too bad, because there were lots of other great choices. Rose brought a French apple pie and cheesecake. A neighbor gave Mom pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing. There was ice cream sundaes for the kids, too.

After dessert, Rose and Anny went up to the malls to do some early shopping. Everyone else settled down by the TV to play with Matchbox cars and watch TV. We ran Mythbusters and the very end of Back to the Future Part III until Skylar got bored and went into the playroom. Dad switched to football after that. He'd had the Vikings-Lions game on earlier, but it wasn't terribly exciting. (The Lions just barely won, 16-13.) We saw the second half of the Cowboys-Redskins game. It was a heck of a lot more interesting. Every time the Cowboys got a touchdown, the Redskins would answer with another one. In the end, the Redskins just got outplayed. The Cowboys won, 31-26.

Jay finally ended up taking the kids home. (Anny and Rose didn't arrive until much later.) I went upstairs as they were leaving. Spent the rest of the night looking at old family photos and all the great old kids' books Mom has in her office.

And sorry I wasn't able to get this up last night. Mom and Dad have a limited Verizon internet plan, and apparently most of their minutes tend to go to cell phone usage on the Internet. I wasn't able to get on. At any rate, I hope all of you had a safe, happy, and full Thanksgiving with all the people you love.

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