Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One day till Thanksgiving: Today I'm thankful for . . . helping hands

The day before Thanksgiving is a busy one for the home hosting the holiday meal. For 15 or 16 years Shorty's house was Turkey Day HQ, and over the course of that many years, you get into a rhythm of preparation. But because I live in the far off land of New York, daughter Kate has stepped up for the past two years and the Thanksgiving torch has been passed to a new generation.

But that doesn't change the fact that the hosting-home must have a thorough house-cleaning and the food for which said host is responsible must start simmering. And there's the china, glassware, table linens. Well, you get the picture.

So on the Wednesday before the Thursday, extra hands are particularly welcome. Today, our four hands were joined by Joanna's to help speed the process along. Joanna, a ripe old 12, has been helping with our Thanksgiving decorating and last-minute cleaning chores since she was six. She's a pro by now, and we had a great day getting things ready for the big day. Yes, we are thankful.

Extra hands, whether a six-year-old's or a 80-year-old's, help get the jobs done faster and better. But the three of us working at Kate's house aren't the only helping hands making the load lighter. Our other Thanksgiving guests are busy, as well. Aunt Nell is making her deviled eggs and sweet potato casserole to add to tomorrow's feast. Sister Cindy is busy with the cranberry dish and riced potato-cheese creation, and Liz, the green bean casserole. Joanna and her mom Carey are preparing two de-lish pumpkin pies. You do not have to be at the host-home to lend a helping hand.

Yes, it takes a village to make a great Thanksgiving - all those helping hands, full of love and experience and tradition. And after the meal, those hands (plus those of the guys, as well) will help with the clean-up and the all-important division of left-overs, as is tradition.

The turkey? Dressing? Macaroni and cheese? Spinach casserole? Well, that's for Kate and me to do, and we do it gladly, lending our hands and our offerings to the bigger occasion. Because the preparation - whether cleaning or cooking - is just as big a part of Thanksgiving as the festive meal.

I am so thankful for all the helpful, loving hands that make our annual Thanksgiving celebration so meaningful.

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