They came from Chicago.
Well, actually, they came from Glen View.
And from Grand Rapids, and East Lansing, and Okemos, and Ann Arbor.
They came from North Carolina, and New York, and Wisconsin. And from far off California.
They came hungry. And thirsty.
They came with laughter, and love and lasagna.
Their eyes were wide with delight and memories. "When did you get the braces off?” “How did you grow so tall?” “Old enough to have a beer? I can’t believe it!”
At dawn, I tiptoed through a house full of bodies. Every bed, every couch. Every nook and cranny that could accommodate a sleeping bag. Bodies everywhere.
The big day has begun.
Some went to Mass. Some ran the charity 5K down in town. Jimmy won by a mile. We knew he would.
A knock on the bathroom door.
“Hey Dad, where’s the plunger. Don’t tell Mom.”
A half dozen grade schoolers in the basement are making memories for future Thanksgiving days. Imaginations running wild, Singing, screaming, making up stories, being silly.
Takes me back to 1938 and my grandmother’s little house in Detroit.
How the wheel turns. How life revolves.
So many memories rush back. I can’t remember what I had for lunch, but I can close my eyes and smell the turkey cooking at Uncle Emmett Sullivan’s house half a century ago.
Our driveway is crammed with cars. Soon there will be thirty-one of us around a big table, celebrating the day, celebrating each other, giving thanks to an almighty Creator we all hold dear in our hearts.
And I look at that beautiful lady next to me and I ask myself, “What on earth have we done?”
Two frightened twenty-one year old college students with a 1949 Mercury and a part time job, embarking on a lifetime adventure nearly sixty years ago. Is this what we wanted ? Is this what we expected?
We never had the chutzpah to predict it. Not even that New Years Eve when the furnace went out and we sat by the fireplace and tried to look down the road.
It just happened, and keeps on happening. You gotta roll with the punches and you gotta believe.
And what ever else we have done, we surely have believed.
We have believed that a loving Creator has decreed that if we lived by His laws and the laws of His nature, we would experience the best that life has to offer.
Or as the Catholic marriage ceremony used to say, “the fullest measure of happiness allotted to man in this veil of tears.”
And so it has been.
We thank God today. Again today. As we must thank Him every day.
May your hugs be as warm and welcome. May your day be as full of cheer.
And may tomorrow’s cold turkey sandwich be all that you anticipate.