And so another Thanksgiving holiday has passed. We hosted the Heile clan this year so it was a raucous good time with Aunt Julie and I taking turns lifting each other off the ground in wild embraces and the cousins ribbin’ each other over any sort of thing.
Ri was wonderful helping me with the centerpiece and place holders. We spent two days making turkeys for each guest. Maria designed them after the one I tried to design looked like a buckeye nut glued on a circle. I cut out the body and head and beak and gizzard and feathers, and Ri wrote on each body: “We are grateful for NAME because…”. She wrote each family member’s name creatively and then wrote two adjectives on each of the feathers of the turkey to describe the person. She even got her thesaurus out to come up with unique words. Precious girl.
Poor Mario sat in the family room watching tv the entire time because he was sick as a dog. He sported a nasty virus that reared it’s ugly head through a non-stop cough for nearly seven days. He was up all night coughing and I swore in my sleep-deprived state that he had to have pneumonia. But two Urgent Care trips later, it was confirmed to simply be a virus. I was so glad to see some life in him on Wednesday morning. He was able to crank out five games of Crazy Eights with me and win everyone.
We woke early on Thanksgiving Day – Jon to prep the turkey and me to take Rocco on a long run to tire him out. When I got home, the kids and I played some more Crazy Eights and they drew cards for the Markles telling them how grateful they were for them in their lives. But the thought of getting out of their pjs to deliver their cards was too much for them so we saved the cards for a post-Thanksgiving present. Mario played on his iPad while Ri waited anxiously for the guests to arrive. Finally, Grandma Lolo arrived. She and I tried to figure out how to make the stuffing and gravy (I get more rudimentary cooking skills honestly; but she gave me so many other talents). Ri quizzed Papa Rod on geography. Then others began to arrive. Ri became the official greeter and coat taker thanks to Laura designating her. These cousins of mine have quite the influence on Maria Grace. She listens to their every word and watches their every move. She grew up with these gals and surely gets all of her sassiness from them.
I loved the hustle and bustle in the house; the laughter; the poking; the frivolity. I grew up with this craziness and I’m glad to see that none of us have settled down. Heck, look at us former Perkins’ waitresses posing for the camera – we still got it.
While Jon was outside grilling a mean turkey, Julie, my mom and I were trying to brew up some equally mean gravy. You would think mixing broth, flour and water would not be so scary, but again, you are talking to three women that have never made it. But ta-da! We killed it!
Everyone brought lots of sides – broccoli casserole, sweet potatoes, cranberries, green bean casserole, rolls, fruit salad, and mashed potatoes. The cousins got caught up on the latest in their lives while Ri and Mario sabotaged the boy cousins. Sweet Konnor and Stewart let the kids wrestle them and show them every room in the house. Cy played football with Mario in the freezing cold. Mag and Liz and Tiff and Laura grilled Ri about school. The uncles watched some football and the aunts chatted around the kitchen. Kinda traditional setting for T-Day but I’d have it no other way. This crazy bunch has been with me since I was a little pea pod and being able to give them thanks and break bread with them on this day made me giddy happy.
Laura gave a lovely prayer before our meal and we were off to the races. Jon’s turkey was to die for – moist and honey-basted. The sides were yummy. The wine was rich. The company superb. And dinner was over in 25 minutes!
All the aunts got to washing the dishes within seconds of the end of the first person finishing their plate – true Grandma Heile style! We broke open the Frisch’s pecan and pumpkin pies and Rice Krispy treats and dove in without hesitation. In sticking with Columbus Thanksgiving tradition, I announced a walk after we gorged ourselves. A few brave souls decided to come with me, including Ms. Grace and Ri. Grace got the delight of climbing a tree!
When we arrived home, I got a few more minutes with my Heile clan before they started to hit the road. But Susie and I did manage to wrangle the clan for a family photo before departures began. We started with the normal sweet photo…
And then they were gone leaving behind two dozen deviled eggs (we forgot to put them out at dinner much to Jon’s glee), a pecan pie and another year of wonderful memories.
But before we knew it, we had more visitors. Grandma Meg and Peepaw arrived from their Thanksgiving in Cincy. Grandma Meg dropped off Peepaw for a sleepover since he left for Oaxaca on Friday morning to take an intense Spanish course and see Elena. Lucky dog.
We ended the night with a long game of Quirkle (Ri beat us all as usual) and a few leftovers (including two pieces of sheetcake, yes sheetcake, a new Thanksgiving tradition started by Aunt Julie in honor of my sweet tooth).
I went to bed completely whooped but so grateful for having such an amazing clan to call family.