Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for Family, Turkey, and Eagles

I was reading Thanksgiving and Christmas short stories from the Collier's Junior Classics Harvest of Holidays book Linda Young sent me a few years ago when Rose called. We were going to leave between 10:30 and 11. That was fine. It would give me a chance to get dressed and have breakfast.

I ran Thanksgiving cartoons as I dressed and ate oatmeal with bananas and half a grapefruit. "Max's Thanksgiving" has Ruby eager to help Grandma decorate the table with fall's bounty. Max is more interested in the nut stuffing!

Garfield's Thanksgiving isn't much better. Garfield's not happy when Liz the Veterinarian puts him on a diet the day before Turkey Day, and then Jon invites her over to dinner! Jon's inability to cook a big meal may turn his holiday into a turkey even before Liz arrives. Good thing Grandma from the Christmas special knows what to do.

The Peanuts also have a memorable dinner in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Peppermint Patty invites herself, Marcie, and Franklin over for dinner. Trouble is, Chuck and Sally are going to their grandmother's house. Their meal of toast and jelly beans isn't appreciated...until Linus and Marcie remind their friends that Thanksgiving is about more than food.

The Mayflower Voyagers goes further into the history behind the holiday. The Peanuts play Pilgrim children on their way to the New World. The first winter in New England is harsh, and many adults perish...until help arrives in the form of friendly Indians, including kindly Squanto. The Pilgrims' first harvest is so bountiful, they invite their friends for a huge feast to give thanks for all they have.

Rose called again during The Mayflower Voyagers. They were ready early - would I mind leaving at 10 instead? That was fine. They finally picked me up around 10:15 (after I said Happy Thanksgiving to my next-door neighbor Richard). This year, Rose, 4-year-old Khai, and I were joined by Rose's boyfriend and Khai's father Craig and by frisky mini pincher Kelsey. There were no problems at all going down to Cape May County. Kelsey sat comfortably in her mommy's lap. Traffic was sparse, even on the interstate. Khai showed me the cute games Rose has for him on his iPad. His favorite was the Halloween game that let you stick treats in a jack-o-lantern or put ghosts and flying witches in front of a haunted house.

We arrived around 11:30-quarter of 12. Much to my delight, my brother Keefe was there with my sister Anny, her fiancee Jay, and Anny's 10-year-old son Skylar and 5-year-old son Collyn. Keefe is in the Navy and apparently had gotten a short leave. Mom came down shortly from taking a shower; Dad had been out running errands. Anny is 8 weeks away from having her first daughter. Other than swollen ankles, she seems to be doing ok.

I spent most of the afternoon chasing Collyn, Khai, and Skylar around. We played with the iPad, watched something about two silly little girls in fluffy dresses helping a princess on Nickelodeon, and built with Duplos first. When the boys started shooting at each other with Nerf guns, we went outside. Collyn rode his bike through the leaves. Khai followed him on the scooter.

When they got bored, we went back inside for another round of games. We watched Ultimate Spider Man and Sanjay & Craig while the boys set up a train track with a real working electric train. It got a little goofy when they kept running the train everywhere but the rails.

They finally wandered upstairs. I first started a game of Trouble with Khai and Collyn. That lasted about ten minutes, until Skylar pulled out an enormous purple Nerf gun that was almost as big as he was. The boys then hid on the steps and pretended to be snipers. I avoided getting shot with suction-tipped darts at by claiming I was the general and gave the orders. They got caught when they shot Mom one too many times and were ordered to go downstairs.

I took them outside again. This time, we kicked balls around. There were two soccer balls, one volleyball, and a baseball and bat. We kicked the soccer balls to each other for a while, then chased after them. I ended up cleaning up the mess when the boys got tired of kicking things and wanted to see if dinner was ready.

It wasn't. They resumed watching cartoons (now Adventure Time) and playing with the train set in the living room until Mom announced dinner was on the table. Mom's dinner was divine, as always. We had turkey, home-made stuffing (even Mom said it was her best ever), cranberry sauce, rolls, carrots (they were a little bland), pearl onions in white sauce, mashed potatoes, and my personal favorite, sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows. (It's like dessert at dinner!) Everyone ate a ton, including the little boys. Skylar ate so much, he had two plates of food done before most of the adults even sat down to eat!

Football was on all day. The Bears-Lions game was just starting when we came in. The Bears got an early lead, but the Lions came on strong in the second half. The Lions ultimately won it, 34-17.

The big one here was the Eagles-Cowboys game. Both teams were first in their division. I settled down with Dad, Craig, Jay, and Keefe to watch the game while Mom and my sisters set out dessert and the little boys returned to the playroom. The Eagles dominated an intense and rather ugly game that broke out into at least two fights in the third and fourth quarters. (Unlike the incident with the Redskins back in September, no one was thrown out, thank goodness.) LeShaun "Shady" McCoy had his best game in weeks. The Eagles finally killed the Cowboys, 33-10.

Dessert was even better than the game. Keefe and I swarmed around the pumpkin pie as soon as Mom announced it was on the counter. There were also Mom's beloved chocolate chip cookie bars, Rose's key lime pie bars, cupcakes topped with chocolate caramel "acorns" Anny molded herself, a moist carrot cake that a neighbor gave Mom, and some tasty pretzels dipped in white chocolate.

The boys wound down even before the game did. By the time the final score became apparent, all three were more than worn out. Khai didn't even kick up too much of a fuss when his cousins finally went home with their mom and her fiancee. Dad switched to the 49ers-Seahawks game, which I'm assuming he and Craig are still watching. Mom was putting away the desserts. Rose and Keefe went to visit Rose's friend Colleen in the Villas for a few hours.

Tomorrow, I'll go home with Rose, Craig, and Khai, then get a lot of things done at my apartment - dusting, taking down the Thanksgiving decorations, grocery shopping, organizing the furniture Dad will be bringing over from Jodie's house.

Oh, and I hope all of my American readers had an equally happy and hearty Thanksgiving with the people they love (and that the Candians enjoyed their Turkey Day last month).

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