After a couple of days of philosophizing in my blog entries, I'll tell you how our Thanksgiving Day went. (Spoiler alert: it was great!)
As we age, the holiday traditions gradually change: My earliest memories of Thanksgiving take place at my maternal grandma's little house, stretched at the seams by more people than you would think it could hold. Aunts, uncles, cousins. Great food, especially the pies. What could be better? Then Grandma was gone, so my brother and sister would bring their families to our house in Kansas City, and my parents hosted the event. Later on, it was my job to be hostess. Of course, after Cliff and I married, there were often two Thanksgiving feasts, one on the actual day and one on the weekend after, because my family and Cliff's family each had their own.
Since the grandson bought our place, the group of people who gather here in "Cliff's shop" has shifted and changed somewhat, with our family blending with the Arick's wife's family, as well as some folks who aren't related to any of us. It's taken awhile, but we now have one of the most comfortable groups ever to share the big day. Because our ex-daughter-in-law is the mother of our two oldest grandchildren, she attends with her friend, Andy; actually, they'd probably come even if it weren't for the grandchildren. She likes noodles a lot, and she still feels like family. Usually granddaughter Amber is here, but this year she was sick, coughing her head off. Our daughter's family is always here, but one of her daughters had to work. Our son, of course, lives in Georgia and visits in July, when I try to cook many of the things we have on holidays. So he's not in the Thanksgiving mix.
Now that I think about it, it's about the same crowd that comes for the Fourth of July party.
The grandson brined and smoked a turkey that was delicious. I told him from now on, he can have turkey duty. He mentioned it was a pretty expensive process, but I said I'd chip in next time. I made all the sweet things I love but seldom have an occasion to make: Cranberry salad (not a salad at all, really, but a dessert); Buck Buchanan Sweet Potato Pie; some pretzels and peanut butter crackers dipped in white chocolate. If you've never had the dipped crackers, it's a simple thing to make, but it tastes like you paid a lot of money for it at a candy store: Spread peanut butter between two Ritz or Hi Ho crackers, dip in almond bark... some in chocolate, some in white. Cool on waxed paper, and eat. I've always hated the fact that the chocolate almond bark is imitation chocolate, but I've tried using melted chocolate chips instead. That doesn't work.
Anyway, the food was great. I ate more sweets than anything else, simply because I limit them severely, most of the time.
Here's a first: As we were taking things out to the shop, the thought entered my head that maybe I should take my guitar out there too. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but I followed my urge. I don't normally push myself in like that; once in awhile a relative will ask me to sing something and I will. But I really don't like to insert myself into something unless I'm asked. I was thinking, for one thing, about Heather's grandpa; I heard he listens to all those country music shows on RFDTV, just like we do. He is hard of hearing, his health isn't the greatest. I figured an old Loretta Lynn song might perk him up a bit.
Well, I'm not sure Grandpa even heard the song, but I got a good response from a couple who, although not relatives, are like family to the grandson and have helped him out in numerous ways; they are beginning to feel like our relatives by now. They live nearby, and are often here for our celebrations. Jerry kept exclaiming, "I didn't know you could sing!"
This was funny to me, because I'm pretty sure 90% of people can sing; some of them won't, and some of them think they can't, but almost anybody can carry a tune. (That 90% figure was a guess, but I just checked Google: ten to twenty percent of the population can't carry a tune.)
Heather's grandma, Sandy, said, "Oh, it's been years since I've heard you sing!"
I sang them three songs I wrote, two that always get the best responses from folks: "Million Dollar Car" and "The Old Home Place", along with one Heather requested that she'd heard me sing at Church one time: "Patchwork Quilt". Add those to the Loretta Lynn song I began with ("I'll Lose My Mind Before I'm Over You"), and that was it. It was one more than I intended: I've learned that in a group that is eating and doing a lot of visiting, it's best not to sing over three songs. You lose their attention pretty fast after that.
So. Whatever possessed me to insert my singing into the Thanksgiving event must have been on target. I'm reminded again of the debt I owe Journey of Faith Ministries for forcing me out of my shell and pushing me to sing my songs after many years of silence. If I can get them to designate a Sunday, I'll go back and sing them a song again just because they did me such a favor.
On an unrelated note, I didn't take my phone or iPad to the shop, so I wasn't among the folks looking for the best Black Friday sales online. I've removed notifications from Messenger and thus gotten rid of the annoying "ping" that interrupted me at the worst possible times; I unfriended over 100 people on Facebook. Most were those who never interacted with me at all, but there were a handful of them I got rid of for different reasons having to do with stress on my part. I force myself to eat meals without looking at the iPad, even if it's just to read a book. I'm telling you, this Internet addiction is tough to beat when you realize how it's gotten its tentacles into every facet of your life. Facebook though, has been tamed and brought under control. The app has been removed from my phone and the iPad, so I can only access Facebook on the laptop.
I still allow myself to spend all the time I want to on Words With Friends, though. It is addictive, but it's manageable... and there's nothing stressful about it, unless you count those times when I can't get a single consonant for five straight plays.
I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving with people you care about.