11.22.15 Everybody keeps saying that Thanksgiving is so late this year, although it’s always the fourth Thursday of the month. Christmas is pushing especially hard to get in the door. Maybe it’s because it truly was Christmas in Denver this past week, when we went down to visit with my brother, before he enters the solitary confinement of the bone marrow transplant ward. He and his family, so far away from their home in Hawaii, have now been living with my sister for five months. Not knowing if he will be here for Christmas, Christine had decorated every inch of her home with holiday decorations collected over a lifetime. And, snow covered the ground from the blizzard which had hit the morning of our arrival.
While we were down there, a big wind event struck the lake shore back home. We read of 80 mph winds which toppled tall trees in the woods along the water, and our community was without power for days. Finally, on the day before we were to come home, we called a friend who lives down the highway a few miles away, and asked if he could try to make it down the road to see if any of our tall pines had crashed into the roof. He reported that all looked okay; there were trees down in the forest but none blocked our road and the house was fine. We were safe to come home.
So, on that last night with my brother and Peggy and Dee, and my sisters and my brothers-in-law, we ordered in pizza and squeezed together on the big leather sectional in front of the giant TV and watched holiday movies. We were tempted to jump right to the Christmas favorites, but not wanting to rush time too fast, settled on “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, the hysterical but tender story of Steve Martin and John Candy trying to get home for Thanksgiving. The movie ended way too soon, but a bit of channel surfing found “Mrs. Doubtfire” in progress. We laughed some more at Robin Williams’ desperation in finding family. Christine had us watch one of her favorite Thanksgiving movies, “Pieces of April”, a quirky family who struggle to come together over a turkey dinner, and find love at last. We all declared their family was even more dysfunctional than our own! And, we finished off with “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” in which Charlie Brown finds a way to include everyone in celebration of Thanksgiving and togetherness. Nobody wanted to stop watching movies, but it was getting late. We had a plane to catch in the morning, and Joy and Jay had a long drive ahead of them to get home. When we surfaced from the basement, we were surprised by a big snow storm going on out in the dark. After scraping windshields, we just had to leave, and hugged one another very long and very hard.
We got back home shortly before sunset and walked the shoreline, looking for damage. I have all the boughs I’ll need for Christmas decorations scattered across the lawn, and more firewood for the long dark nights ahead, but we were unscathed. This bench had been blown over, but I righted it and sat there for the sunset, ever so grateful for home, for family, in all the forms it comes to us.