Giving thanks for Thanksgiving

We drove long
yet stayed short.
We arrived at 6pm on Wednesday
and had to leave around 10am Friday.
Subtract our time in bed
and we were only in south Georgia for one full day.

Our evenings included pickin’ and grinnin’


with guitars and mandolin …

… smores ….

and little ones sitting in the secure lap of a daddy …. just where little girls ought to spend their time.

In my youngest years, we camped together with the family that now lives next door to my folks.
Many a night, with the surf roaring in the background, I fell asleep in humid, salty Florida air
to the crackle of a fire and the sound of guitars accompanying the lyrics of John Prine or Willie Nelson.
I remember that my sleeping bag was always gritty sandy and
only the canvas of a tent or pop-up camper kept out the dew and mosquitoes.
I am absolutely certain that my preference for songs with strong lyrics
comes, at least in-part, from those formative years of melodies filled with
word puns and riddles..
Lines like “I knew that topless lady, had something up her sleeve” 
still make me laugh.
Lines like “I hate graveyards and old pawn shops, for they always bring me tears.
I can’t forgive the way they rob me, of my childhood souvenirs”
make me reminisce and ponder my own life.

Now, my own children listen to those same deep voices sing
and those same fingers pick and strum
and it warms my heart like little else has power.


I pray that the day comes when Joy is comfortable enough to
strum along with the crowd.
At this point, she still feels inadequate …
which is a shame because she has a natural talent that astounds me.
Maturity and practice will grow her in time. I pine for that day.

Thanksgiving day included board games,

and catching up
while we sat by the lake and soaked in some south Georgia sunshine.

I refuse to consider that I might enjoy “Grandmotherhood,”
but I’ll have to admit that it brings me great joy to see a toddler in the midst of the gathering again.
The youngest son next door …. has the cutest daughter …. with blue eyes that will steal your heart …

not at all unlike her own father’s eyes.

Before the end of the afternoon,
there were boys shooting hoops

and a grandpa picking fruit
to be sent home as a gift
as we traveled back to our northern home.

It feels so unnatural
to snap a photo of tangerines on a tree
with pines in the background of the frame.

It was such a treat to have my brother and his family
and all my kids with my parents
together under one roof.

Even though we were a pretty big group for our small family
(my parents are only children and I only have one sibling),
I was grateful that Mom’s cat seemed to adjust to all the bustling
of their normally quiet and still home.

And I’m thankful that I was able to take photos throughout our trip.
I know that the camera sometimes feels intrusive … LOL

Every year feels like another gift.
We don’t know
from year to year
who will return the next.

This sunroom is now quiet again.
I’m so thankful that we were able
to travel and sup and fellowship …
with no strife … no arguing … no incessant teasing.
It was a beautiful visit
and for this

I am Thankful.

Adding to my list of One Thousand Gifts:

479. guitars and mandolins and familiar melodies
480. a ukelele that will one day join the band by the fire
481. sparks shooting from smoldering embers to toast marshmallows golden
482. crunchy graham crackers, fresh from the wax paper sleeve
483. substantial laps for little fannies and big hands to hold little ones tight
484. wide blue skies filled with stars that twinkle bright and a winsome moon
485. a dependable car with enough space to ride and sleep four
486. good tires
487. gas money
488. agreeableness
489. fresh, warm rolls on the Thanksgiving table
490. prayers before meals that remind me of those who prayed over us, for us and with us the past
491. a heritage of men who love God and model that faithfully
492. fire protection and emergency medical help from a Daddy who offers his life to save others
493. green grass, hydrangea and azaleas that are still in bloom at Thanksgiving
495. Kingfishers who are always heard and, upon occasion, seen swooping above chilly, smooth water
496. sunlight on the water and sunsets of crimson and blazing orange and bruised purple
497.  memories from a past Thanksgiving with a boat ride, exploration and a deeply missed friend
498. clear lake water in the slough with lily pads to decorate the surface
499. an antique board game and cries of “SORRY!”  … when you’re not
500. a chilly tile floor on an outdoor room where drinks are sipped and stories are shared
501. the ever-present reminder that life is short
and ends without warning.
Love those around you … now.

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