Wednesday, November 25, 2009
3:22 p.m. Today's project was (and is) to get the house clean, polish the wood furniture, buy a few last minute items from Vons, and get the logistics in order for tomorrow. We'll have a full house of family, including spouses and significant others. With our five children, Steve has experienced the blessing that the Bible describes in Psalm 128:3: "Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD."
We have large extended families, too. My side, the Grays, will join us from San Diego, because their traffic is pretty light. The Kruckenberg side has found the traffic from Orange County unbearable, and we have to concur, having made the trek a number of times. Brutal both directions. Kriss and Marisela had better get an early start from Long Beach if they expect to be here by 2 p.m.!
The day before Thanksgiving is for me a kind of quiet, nervewracking, suspenseful kind of day. "Did I forget anything? The leaf needs to go into the dining room table, don't forget to polish it first! How much cleaning should I do, since I'll be making stuffing tonight (a big mess!) Should I fry the sausage for the stuffing now? Or just do all of it at once tonight?"Adding to today's trials, I can add the stench of another dead rat up in the crawl space above Heidi's room, thankfully to be removed by our rat man later this afternoon, praise the Lord! I've noticed this year that we always have a rat die when we are expecting a blessed gathering of family--last August's birthday party was an example of the enemy throwing any nuisance he can into Christian gatherings. "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world," I John 4:4 says, and amen to that! And the rat man is actually here...He got TWO dead rats. Can you imagine what that would have smelled like?
I can also say, that all of this food preparation reminds me of my mother, Pearl Gray, pictured with me in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, where my dad was stationed in the late '50's. She was an aficionado of the paper bag-wrapped turkey, as was Steve's mom Ruby. Both of these fine ladies have gone to be with the Lord, and are sorely missed. I especially chuckle remembering one Thanksgiving fifteen years ago, probably, when Mommy arrived early, and had been relaxing while I scurried around. She looked up and said, "Dana, can I do something?" MISTAKE! "Yes, Mommy, you can peel potatoes!!" And she did it, cheerfully. I have a funny picture of her, and you know, she peeled potaotes for the next few years, just to keep our joke going. Her sense of humor and oddball remarks kept up even after she had her stroke and was a bit hard to understand. Three years after her passing, I still think of things I want to tell her or ask her!
Big family events with tons of food preparation can put me in quite a tizzy, but I need to remember that it's awful hard to ruin a stuffed turkey, and people are very appreciative of the cook's efforts. 30+ years of roasting turkeys and making Thanksgiving meals should have taught me a little bit, at least, but that exta adrenaline helps turn in a better performance, as athletes and actors know!
May the Lord bless our gathering and be honored by our conversation and fellowship!