|Laura, Jeff, Me, Kevin, & John after a summer feast at Famous Dave's.|
We sent several messages beforehand back and forth over who was bringing what, but when the weekend arrived for our Saturday evening Thanksgiving feast, Laura and Jeff were both sick with the flu. Having already cooked the turkey and made lots of food, they postponed the meal until a later date. As luck would have it, we got a significant amount of snow that weekend, and no one was up for driving through it to get over there.
When I opened the hand-crafted invitation Laura sent this year, I had to laugh, wondering if the whole thing would come off without a hitch this time. It did! Last Saturday Kevin and I arrived with our green bean casserole and crescent rolls. Jeff came to greet us at the door of their building. Laura received us with open arms straight from cooking in the kitchen.
The table was set beautifully, looking very much like something you’d see in a magazine. It smelled like Thanksgiving. The turkey had just come out of the oven. The family recipe gravy was still on the stove thickening, which gave me an opportunity to help out. I stirred without stopping while Laura bustled around the kitchen taking care of different odds and ends. Jeff and Kevin sat in the living room and enjoyed some hors d’oeuvres while watching some of the football games on TV. Soon Laura’s dad Paul and his wife Lynn arrived.
Our friend John called and asked if they had whipped cream. They were a little confused and concerned by that question since he’d talked to them just that morning about bringing potatoes. I explained that he was also planning on picking up a chocolate fudge pie from Ukrop’s bakery because that was one of their family’s traditions. It all came together quite nicely.
Laura had even printed out sheets with our names on them and the lines of the prayer we were assigned. There were two paper leaves decorating the top of each paper. After each line of the prayer, we lit one of the tealight candles on the table.
The food was positively scrumptious! We had turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, corn pudding, two kinds of cranberry sauce, crescent rolls later followed by three kinds of pie: chocolate peanut butter which Jeff made, pumpkin grace à Laura, and the chocolate fudge John brought.
We had a great time talking and catching up. It had been quite some time since I’d seen and gotten the opportunity to talk with Paul and Lynn. The one thing that really stood out in my memory about Lynn was that she came over to my mom’s house when I was in high school to do a PartyLite Candle show. That evening there was a bad storm that ended up knocking the electricity out in the middle of the party. We all laughed, lit some more candles, and kept right on going.
Laura is someone I’ve known since we went to fifth grade together at St. Mary’s. We went to different high schools, but we were in the same Confirmation class taught by my mom our Junior year, and then we came back into each other’s lives when Kevin and I started going to St. Michael’s, where Laura is a cantor and Jeff serves as a lector.
When we finished eating, Laura, truly the ideal hostess, pulled out brand new Gladware containers for us to each make a to-go serving to take home. We spent several hours at the table long after we’d finished our coffee, tea, and pie, playing a very in-depth game of Apples to Apples. What a magnificent, fun-filled evening!
Lord, thank You for close friends who have become family, who are excited to see us, and invite us warmly into their homes for food, fellowship, and laughter! Amen.