November 25-26, 1970 – Thanksgiving Eve and Day
Nate and I finally figured out where we would sleep my parents, brother, and three aunties on the night before Thanksgiving. Agnes and Ruth would go in our bedroom, having hoped for a closed door. Helen would be comfortable on the living room couch.
Mom and Dad would cuddle up on the pull-down Murphy bed, and Tom would have the dining room floor.
Nate and I would be on the living room floor in front of the fireplace – a sleeping spot not unfamiliar to us. And the whole night promised to be unique!
After our cake and coffee at about 10:00 PM Wednesday evening, we took turns in the bathroom and then said our good-nights. Mom was so into the adventure of it all she couldn’t settle down, cracking jokes about her sleeping spot with Dad in the swoopy Murphy bed.
“Don’t look at what’s going on in this bed,” she said. “It’s x-rated.” Of course she was joking, and I could hear Dad trying to shush her so he could drift off to sleep.
Somehow we made it through the night and a nourishing scrambled egg breakfast before Mary, Bervin, little Luke, and doggie Russell arrived. Then Mom lent me her cooking expertise, and when everything was finally ready, Dad did the carving… on the sink drain board. Despite having prepared the meal in a kitchen with only 18 inches of counter-space, our late afternoon Thanksgiving feast was a success.
After washing all the dishes assembly-line style, we “youngsters” played games on the floor while the “oldsters” nodded off.
It was peaceful… and perfect. And I was proud of Nate for setting aside his books completely throughout the day. They were on his mind, to be sure, pressing hard, but he never mentioned them.
Mom wanted to take a family photo announcing their first grandchild in a Christmas card, so we assembled in front of the window. Our Danville friend Rick took the picture.
A family of five had begun to grow, and now we were eight. Mom wondered aloud how many might join the ranks in future years. “The more the merrier,” she said, meaning it with all her heart.
Around 10:00 PM our guests began getting their coats, which we’d known ahead of time had to happen. Even the Chicago group was committed back home the next morning.
Nate and I stood at our apartment door waving them down the stairs, one group at a time, deeply thankful that the whole family had been together. Our time had been short — but memorable.
And with our parting words, we promised to host a Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family every year from that day forward – no matter how big we grew.
“Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.” (Psalm 50:23)