Saturday, 27 November 2010

Author AR Norris shares her thoughts on Thanksgiving.

To really describe Thanksgiving at the Norris Household, I'd have to bring you back two days prior to the day. Not too much happens for us without the presence of the ocean. Within short order we found ourselves walking over the sand mound to look out at the Bay and hooking beyond the jetty, stood the Pacific Ocean. Right behind us, tucked away behind the heart of the peninsula, was the harbor with all its colorful boats, rickety piers, and leaning dock houses. The morning fog slithered in the distance, its misty fingers caressing the hillsides.

Hubby and my eldest son went off to catch the Thanksgiving crab while the rest of the crew and I headed on our hike, facing off the strong winds and biting chill, to explore the beach. Just down the main arch of the beach the signature rocky cliffs stood guard to the fields and pastures above. The thirty foot waves rolled in and crashed against the cliffs, sending a firework of water into the air and leaving behind the residue of the ocean's will in the form of foam.

Thanksgiving morning hailed with aromas of roasting Turkey and a house warmed by the pot belly stove. I walked into the kitchen to find my husband already busy at work. There's nothing more attractive than a man helming the stove. He's got that glint of warrior in his sparkling green eyes from the success of preparing food for his family.

Now, here I have to pause and disclose a process that happens at the end of summer. My sister and I bid for who's getting which holiday. Most of the time I can wrangle Thanksgiving -- which is my favorite, favorite holiday -- but sometimes, like this year, she gets a hold of it. So, needless to say, we packed up our part of the menu, piled up the kids, and drove the three blocks over to her house.

A line of cars already filled up the block. Grandmas, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, in laws, first cousins, second cousins, nieces, and nephews filled up the front yard and the house. Laughter and argument -- er…debates -- welcomed us. As sets of hands freed us of our offerings, little arms hugged our legs and big arms hugged our shoulders. Looking around I still felt like those who have moved on were still present somehow. I expected the snickering laughter of my father-in-law, and even the old boisterous laughter of my grandpa.

Throughout the day there were lots of laughter, giggles, teasing, loud voices…and lots of stories. Stories from last week and stories from before my time. Stories that made us laugh and those that made us cry. No matter the time span or the emotions behind them, they were a subtle reminder of what we all have here together.

Cuddled on the couch with Hubby as my Grandma told another story from before our time, it all came full circle. Generations ago I was on a couch as a child, cuddling into my mother and listening to Grandma's old stories.

It brought me comfort and filled my heart with thanks. Life may not be perfect, but its not supposed to be that way. The bumps in the road make for the stories and remind us of the support we have around us, making the moments like Grandma's storytelling, laughter and hugs, and those sentimental tears more rich and meaningful.

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