Road Signs For Success

By Kay Caldwell

“Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright colored packages tied up in ribbons, silver white winters that melt into spring, these are a few of my favorite things” … and I must add this is my favorite time of the year. The weather is cooler, the sky more subdued, and the landscape of foliage is a menagerie of colors that please the eye and the soul.

Thanksgiving is a time of love, full of blessings. As my family gathers for the feast, laughter begins to ring in the halls. Little by little people begin to arrive, everyone hugging and saying hello. The smaller children run in the door anxious to see all their cousins. Of course the first hug is from the grandmother and grandfather who squeeze them tightly and plant a quick kiss on their little cheeks.

The smells of delicious foods fill the air. Everyone is talking and laughing. There is happy music playing in the background and the television is on with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. My family comes from near and far, arriving at different times, but when the time comes to bless the food everyone is there. It is our family tradition to all join hands, even the little children, forming a large single circle. We go around the circle and everyone tells one thing that they are thankful for. My Mother selects who will say the Thanksgiving prayer to bless the food, give thanks for the year we have had and for the family. The prayer includes remembering those that have gone on before us, the less fortunate and our military as well. There if often a tear or two. After the prayer, we say, God bless Papaw. That is my dad who passed away 10 years ago. When the prayer ends, and someone pulls the hot rolls out of the oven the feast begins. We start to serve each other.

You will hear endless chatter about how great everything looks and questions on who brought this or that dish. The food is always incredibly delicious. While eating, everyone brags on all the food and how happy we are to be together. We laugh a lot and tall stories are told. There is always a camera flashing to capture the memory. There are probably close to fifty people that join us. Oh by the way, all friends are welcome too, and all outlaws (those that married into the family, including their families) so you can count on a house full. After the meal is finished and the moaning regarding how full everyone is, plus the teasing slows down about the two pieces of pumpkin pie someone ate, the guys gather around the television to see the football game. The children are playing. Those that aren’t watching the game and usually the ladies play card games and continue to talk about our lives. It is such a happy time. At some point, my sisters and I will sing Christmas Carols, which irritates my brother (nicknamed Mr. Bah Humbug) immensely. That is not why we do that, well maybe a little, but it brings fun and cheer into the day. My Mother and Dad always taught us no matter what, we must love each other.

People tell me all the time they wish they had a family like mine. I take that as a great compliment. Please know that I am not naïve enough to think everyone has been blessed with that kind of family. I heard someone say once, “Sometimes one is born in to a family that is not acceptable. This is why we chose our family from the people we meet as we walk life’s passage.” I have permanently added many people to my family because there are people I can’t live without.  You can do the same.

I hope you feel blessed this Thanksgiving Day. If not, I ask that blessings come your way. From my heart to yours, I wish you love. Happy Holidays!

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