November 23, 2005
People have started arriving at our house for Thanksgiving. The doorbell rings, and there are Hubbo’s brother David and Abby, who is pretty much the only woman who deserves such a guy. They are surrounded by more luggage than they have ever traveled with in their lives. It looks like they’re moving to a faraway country. As I look closer, I see the reason for the giant suitcase: a small face peering out of her baby bucket. It’s Molly, the Baby of the Year.
Within a minute, my six-year-old Clif has run off and returned with his present for Molly: a hat he made at school on a knitting frame. He has been waiting for weeks to give it to her.
Molly, David, and l’artiste, Clif
You can imagine how I reacted when Clif came home from school with his bepompommed tube of variegated goodness. Yes, we have a new pieceworker in the house. Clif’s amazing teacher Ms. Hempel has a wall full of knitting frames; the kindergartners are all busily cranking out tubes of all sizes. The hand puppet business is strong right now, and I adore Ms. Hempel.
Hubbo’s sister Liz showed up late last night from Vermont, with her sleepy brood. The house is so full right now, with five children under the age of ten here. More cousins are coming today to stay nearby.
Remember how, this past fourth of July, I was sitting at the Monteagle picnic, at our plywood slab on sawhorses, feeling snakebit and lonesome? The solution, it seems, is to fill up your house with family. It works, it really does. Get a bunch of family to show up, use every pillow and blanket, and there–life is beautiful.
Thanksgiving can be complicated. My brothers and sisters and I live in five different states. I keep asking myself why we don’t all live in the same house–wouldn’t it be more convenient if we just went all suburban kibbutz? I have long watched The Farm, an “intentional community” (aka commune dating from 1971) south of Nashville and thought, if these people would just shop at Costco every once in a while, I could live at The Farm.
I’m sorry to be missing your green bean casserole. Our family favorite is a canned asparagus casserole, which absolutely does not work if you use fresh asparagus.
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody! Keep eating!
PS Just in time for the holiday, this arrived here chez Shayne. Can you guess what’s inside? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not a case of canned asparagus. It’s not because Lynard Skynard’s reunion tour is coming to my house. It’s not a container filled with precious body parts.