Thanksgiving is one of the big holidays around our house.
Last year when we were still working we really didn’t have time to plan ahead beyond asking someone to find out who was coming and making sure we had a big turkey in the freezer about a week ahead of time.
This year, since we’re retired and have more time, I did the calling myself late last week, and early this week we bought a nice big turkey.
At last count, it looked like we would have somewhere between 20 and 30 people for dinner – not a full family count, but then our kids’ in-laws celebrate holidays too.
Tonight the big solid rock that is our Thanksgiving turkey will be in thawing position. Early tomorrow morning, Bill will get the bird ready while I make the stuffing. When that’s roasting in the oven, we’ll have breakfast and relax until it’s time to prepare all the rest of the menu. By then, we’ll know what the rest of the menu is.
By noon, the family will be arriving with desserts and other goodies to share. We’ll draft different ones to take dinners out to friends who can’t join us. And finally, by around 12:30, the feast will begin.
After dinner, when I’d really like to settle down in the recliner and snooze while family voices surround me, one of the older grandchildren will ask, “Grandma, are we going for a walk today?”
I’ll mumble, “Give me five minutes to rest, and, if the weather’s good, we’ll go.”
He’ll smile and walk away because they all know that five minutes later they’ll send the youngest walker to tell me it’s time to go.
It’s all part of another tradition I started 10 or 12 years ago when there were fewer grandkids, and I was younger. I figured that if I took the grandkids for a walk after a family dinner, someone else would clean up the mess before we got back. Usually it worked. As the crowd grew, some of the grownups would come along to help. I think they figured out the clean-up thing too.
It doesn’t really matter how many come along, the path is always the same. First we go down to the creek and throw some rocks in. Then we walk around the elevator to the railroad tracks. We walk on the tracks and look over whatever train cars are around. I remind the children that they never ever walk this way alone.
Then we walk up the hill and decide whether to walk home on the sidewalk or go through the alley. A majority vote decides, and we run part way and walk the rest of the way home.
One of the things the grandkids like best about our walk is that no matter how dirty they get or what they pick up along the way and drag back, I take the blame for it. Their parents can’t yell at me because I’m the parents’ parent.
What I like best about it is I don’t have to clean the kids up, and they have to take home with them whatever junk they pick up along the way. That’s part of what’s so grand about being grandparents.
So, tomorrow afternoon, if you’re out and about, and you think you see a weird parade walking along, just wave, and we’ll probably wave back – unless our hands are full of the littlest kids or really neat junk.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Nov. 22, 1995.