November 21, 2012

Many years ago at one of the Thanksgiving dinners we were hosting, my schoolteacher cousin arrived with a gem of a book in her hand, The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant.  It is a bouncy, exuberant book about bouncy, exuberant relatives who arrive for a long awaited visit.  It's filled with love and the simple joys of being family--doing chores together, squeezing way too many bodies into too few beds, and sharing the stories that become part of the family oral history.  My mother, my sister and her family will load up their car today (a very respectable mini-van my sister will want me to point out, and nothing at all like the car below!) and make their way from South Dakota to my front door tonight.  We'll cook together, we'll laugh together, we'll distribute kids and sleeping bags in various rooms, and we will definitely eat way too much pumpkin pie, but oh my, it will be so wonderful to share this weekend with them.  I wish all of you a Thanksgiving filled with love and gratitude, and I will be back next Monday....time to bring out the Christmas poems! 

"They had an old station wagon that smelled like a real car, and in it they put an ice chest full of soda pop and some boxes of crackers and some bologna sandwiches...they drove all day and they drove all night and while they traveled along they looked at the strange houses and different mountains and they thought about their almost purple grapes back home.  They thought about Virginia--but they thought about us too.  Waiting for them."


(Edgar Albert Guest, 1881-1959)

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

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