Yet, this morning the dogs and cats woke me early and I got right to it. I have done three loads of wash; cleaned the oven, made the "lumpy" cranberry sauce and started boiling the neck with onions, celery leaves, carrots and garlic. I usually put the giblets in there also, but this turkey came with a frozen packet of gravy, not giblets. It does not indicate that on the turkey or I would not have bought it. I want giblets to make my own gravy, thank you very much, not someone elses version of gravy. I will just have to make another turkey in another month or so. Harry loves the giblets and he loves sleeping in front of the oven when the turkey is roasting, and Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. For a Labrador, I guess it is hard to beat the feast day.
But I have also planted pansies and amaryllis, because I didn't want this to simply be a lost day of preparing for Thanksgiving. I wanted to get my hands in the dirt and spend a little time celebrating this beautiful bright sunny blue skied day. It is cooling down, and in the wind it gets a might nippy, but out in the sunshine, it is glorious. I have thrown the ball until I thought Bob would explode chasing after it. He loves the ball. I have had many a lab, but Bob by far is the most ball focused of all the dogs I have had in my 56 years. And as tired as my arm gets, as guilty as I feel when I am too busy to step outside for a moment and lob that tennis ball up, up, up over the back fence into the pasture, I am happy that he loves the ball.
Dad and I had a big breakfast and then he just could not keep his eyes open. I am pretty tired myself, but napping is frustrating, so instead I choose to find things I enjoy doing like writing a post, answering emails with friends, setting up a lunch date for next Wednesday, planting plants, etc. I am not sure if the dogs and I will sleep on the sofa tonight or if we will venture out to my airstream. I have a lovely old airstream that I love. But it is still full of Larry's things, so it is a hard place to be. I know I have to get into there and go through his things separating out what will go to Wag The Dog and what will simply be discarded or go into the rag bin. So I am not rushing out there to sleep tonight. But I might. It might be easier to simply have all the dogs out there with me, then trying to control them in the house when it is full of family. Only my oldest brother, my "big" brother, his wife and daughter are coming up. My youngest brother has to work, so he can not get away. His wife came one year with the two boys without him, but I certainly understand her wanting to stay home to have the family together rather then coming up here. Also John and Meg, my sister in laws cousins, who live in Tallahassee have gone done there for Thanksgiving, so they will have a lovely family gathering there while he have one here. Family gathering. It brings up sweet precious memories, while it also reminds me of difficult times. A double edged sword with a slim blade.
So I will continue cleaning up and straightening things before they get here. I am pretty tired, so I am not going to push it. If they want to come to a clean house, they can send a maid. I admire people who have sparkling clean houses, but I do not feel the pressure of judging myself on that basis. I try to be close to clean, but a little dust, OK a lot of dust on shelves and tops of pictures, etc. do not catch my eye. Weeds in the garden are quicker to catch me then dust in my house. Priorities I guess.
Well, it is a day that most of us hurry through to get to the turkey, or the parade or the football. My table will be graced with lovely roses my dear precious friend Maggie sent me from Texas. They are fall colors and will look lovely in small separate vases lined up along the middle of the table with Godiva foil turkeys hidden in between. There will be acorn salt and pepper shakers, dishes in the shapes of oak leaves and acorns and more food then we will ever be able to eat at one sitting. There will be left overs. Glorious Thanksgiving leftovers. That is my favorite part of the meal, making left overs. And as I remove the meat from the turkey I will secret away the bones until all the meat is gone and then I will boil those bones until everything is soft and manageable. I will make that turkey soup for Harry and pour it over his dog food in the morning along with Bob and Edna. And Harry will look at me with those old blurred vision dog eyes and I will see the sparkle, the love of this special treat that usually only comes around once a year. But even an old dog like him dreams of this feast and the turkey soup to come.
My friend Louise sent me this poem. It is written by Dawna Markova, a cancer survivor.
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
fully alive - dawna markova
I am not a poet, so I appreciate others words to voice my feelings. I talk about my cancer here, and I talk about it in life, but it still amazes me that I have this disease. It is not what I expected. When diagnosed properly, and treated correctly, this chronic disease is a blessing, a gift, a challenge to learn to appreciate yourself, life, precious beloveds surrounding us, and all the moments around us, waiting to be noticed.
I am thankful for being alive to cook that turkey and make the pumpkin and sweet potato pie, the mashed potatoes, the cranberries. I am thankful to have family and friends gathered around a table with me, eating and laughing and celebrating being together. I am thankful for this disease and for all the gifts that have come along with it. I am thankful for those who have come before, and those who will come after. I am thankful for this country, and for all of the people of the world. I am thankful for the diversity of life on this planet, and for the rocks and rivers, mountains and oceans. I am thankful how all of this spins around a star keeping us attached to this planet rather then flying off. I am thankful for this universe and all of the others ones we are learning about. All the colors and lights and atoms and matter that makes up this amazing life I have.
And spending tomorrow cooking that 20 pound bird, something I do not do, but maybe once a year, and sitting down at that table, maybe with a little glass of a nice champagne. Looking across the table at the small group of people there, people I adore. I will lift that glass of sparkling bubbling wine, that is from the champagne region of France, therefore legally referred to as champagne and I will think of all the people I have been blessed to know in my life. The nurturers, the teachers, the takers and the givers, those that have loved me, those that have not loved me, and I will be thankful, yes, so very thankful for all of them. I will listen to my chickens as they scratch around the pasture, and as my dogs whine because they want to join us but instead will be outside in the sun. And I will remember why this country was founded, and appreciate that although my beliefs are not the same as those who were here and those who have come here. That each and everyone of our beliefs is right and belongs to each of us and that we have the right to think about them, talk about them or not and to be kind and thoughtful of others.
To appreciate this day, as much as tomorrow, and the day after. And when my days have all been played, I will with gratitude lay down and go to where I will go. Without fear, without regret. Yes, it is a glorious day here, and I am feeling a little thoughtful, and grateful. Maybe Dad and I will dance over to the Moon's house for a little visit this evening. But maybe we will stay home and enjoy this time together as we wait for my big brother and his family. Time spent worth while whichever we choose.