This year the Warden hosted for the Thanksgiving feast and 18 family members were in attendance. Momma and Daddy Warden came from Texas to attend, accompanied by the Warden's younger brother and sister. Also at the last minute on Wednesday we got a call from Peoria, IL and baby Ruth (the youngest daughter, not the candy bar) said they were also going to get to attend. This of course was a welcomed surprise.
The Warden of course fretted and stewed all week wondering if she had everything she was going to need to feed everyone. She made daily trips to the store to pick up vegetables, fruits, cans of various foods, different seasonings and other items of recipes she just found and had to try. And she also called me daily to stop at some Country Mart or Dillions to pick up some other "forgotten ingredient". (Which did put me in the fight of my life for a couple boxes of cornbread dressing mix on Wednesday. If I hadn't outweighed that 80 year old woman, I might not have gotten those boxes wrenched out of her hand!)
But on Thursday around 9:30 everything started coming together as people arrived. Smells from the kitchen drew in samplers and tasters. Becky, Rachel and Ruth (with husbands, kids and dogs) arrived bearing more mashed potatoes, hams, cakes and casseroles. Those of us that were of the male gender sat on the newly finished front porch enjoying the beautiful weather and pretended to oversee the wild Indians playing in the yard. Finally dinner was announced and we crowded into the kitchen to surround the bar filled with various delicacies and fill our plates to overflowing.
Now here at the Warden/KSCowboy household there is a special tradition at Thanksgiving. Since it is "Thanks Giving" we all have to tell what we are thankful for. This is really a unique time. It makes everyone reflect on their own blessings but also, as you listen to others share theirs, realize some blessing that you might have taken for granted.
As we go around the room each person (of voting age) tells of blessings such as health, job changes, neighbors they have, children in good health, the country in which we live, opportunities that have happened to us, etc. It is a fun, inspirational and an enlightening time that draws this family a bit closer. I too add my blessings to the list.
Yet even as open as we are with feelings and emotions, there is always something that a person holds within the deep recesses of the heart. Whether fear of being deemed as "petty" or fear of "embarrassment" or something more trivial, we do not totally bare our soul. As I am giving my "blessing speech", looking at all the food before us, meeting the eyes of all my kids, healthy grandkids, in-laws and out-laws there is a blessing I don't mention. However in my heart I am SO THANKFUL we now have a house with three bathrooms!