On a crystal clear, startlingly cold crisp Sunday morning I warm myself with coffee and allow my self a few moments of reflection before I attempt to construct a variation of leftover turkey in hopes of surprising The Mister with lunch. Willow snoozes at mt feet. She has fallen victim to “grease gut” which if you have to ask, I assume you are not from the country where we fry turkey and half-breed dogs run wild. I will spare you the details and I’m sure you would rather not hear the turmoil she has suffered over the last few days for ingesting what should be left for left for scavengers like racoons and possums. Poor Willow, she has the manners and grace of a bull in a China shop, but we love her and even now, I rub my foot up and down length of her belly.
It was as almost a perfect Thanksgiving as one could ask. The weather perfect, the food was fit for a fine southern dinner and family was in abundance. I sat and watched, talked and laughed and wondered where the time went. I see mygirls, my nieces and nephews and their husbands and wives. The children join us now and talk about college, instead of little league. They sit with us, the adults now and we talk about politics and cooking and I miss the days of slamming doors and shrieking laughter. We mention in jest that it is time for a Welch baby among us, and instinctively we smile and turn to those children, now adults and realize that the circle has nearly completed its turn.
I watch The Mister standing in the yard, laughing with Uncle C and Jay. They have done this many times before and yet find a man-type of enjoyment in joking, bragging and laughing as they do. I love them. They have all aged well. In a world where love and family is disposable, each one has loved their family and guided them well. Different struggles, different victories but the makings of good men, solid men, have been handed down to my nephews, who now join in the circle of men, hands in pockets. These boys, now nearly men, are given a gift that they do not even fully realize. Dependability, a gift that continues day in day out with family when it would have been easier to walk away. Faithfulness, a gift that has given their families a dad who is here, a husband to be trusted. Loyalty, the gift that makes family something to cherish. When so many families are scattered, this family manages to still hold on to its original roots. No troubles? No, plenty of fights and skirmishes, stories of tears and adversity and dark secrets like any other family. Yet I see three men there around the turkey fryer who decided to stick it out. They decided long before the winds of trouble blew, that they were in it for the long haul. I am glad. They have given their sons the gift of example, their daughters the gift of security and their wives the gift of love.
I smile and holler out to them, “Hey, how much longer on those turkeys?” I won’t tell them my thoughts right now, but I do tell the Father in a whispered prayer this Thanksgiving Day, “Thank you for them, for all of them.”