It’s just a few minutes into Thanksgiving. I tried to sleep, but found myself restless. I’ve been considering a return to a private journal, and pondered maybe getting underway on Thanksgiving. I’ve been missing Mama all week, and I know it’ll be especially poignant today.
I’m looking forward to today. A couple of Katie’s friends are going to join us for Thanksgiving dinner, and maybe some football (my Raiders are playing the Cowboys). We’re going to have the obligatory turkey, but I’m a little hazy about some of the other specifics. I do know that we’re having the deviled eggs Loretta used to love to make (and in her honor). I baked four pies (two apples and two sweet potato). It could be said those are in Mama’s honor, since both are from her recipes. It should be a great day, with me and Victoria, Katie and her friends, Michelle and Josh (though they’ll have to come late and can’t stay long).
I’m looking forward to people being here. I grew up around so much family that it seems strange to me at holidays if there’s not a lot of people around. Not that I always jumped in whole-heartedly at our family functions, but I knew the family was there, and I sorely miss them in their absence. And it goes without saying that I miss Mama most of all. I hope today brings some measure of peace and fellowship, if only to help fill the void left behind by those who are now just treasured memories.
I am blessed. Today will contain some melancholy. But with it will be joy and a measure of happiness. I hope to feel Mama’s presence today. And Loretta’s. They are so much in my thoughts at the moment. I can close my eyes and see their faces. In a moment I am back at the cafe, safe in the bosom of my family. I miss the old ones dearly, and I know I always will. But I am at peace, somewhat, in knowing that I am one of the old ones now, and that it is my task to live my life in such a way that when I am gone I will be a treasured memory in someone else’s heart.
I have a loving wife now who grasps the full importance of family, and who loves me with a gracious heart that I am not worthy of. I now have two-step-daughters whom I already count as friends, and whose love and loyalty I hope to prove worthy of in the decades to come. And hopefully once this Thanksgiving has passed I will have a few new friends who’ll look back fondly on their time here and remember the crazy old guy in the camouflage pants who drank Jack Daniel’s and cheered on his Raiders. That’s what Thanksgiving is about, I think. Enjoying your family and making new friends, all over good food, alcohol and football. We are Americans, after all. And that is something to be thankful for on this most American of holidays.
I hope Mama and Loretta will be watching. I hope we make them smile. And I hope they know how much I love them and how terribly I miss them. I will always try to live my life in a way that honors them (especially Mama), but I will live this day with a special joy to honor their memory.