It’s the small things.
This past weekend, three of our children and two of our grandchildren were here to celebrate Thanksgiving.
It wasn’t possible for us to all be in the same place on Thanksgiving Day so as our family has always done we got together when we could and put the seal on that day as the holiday.
I have never made any secret that our family enjoys pulling up to the table. It’s a matter of fact that we never deny.
This year was no different. Friday night when Michael, Beth, Sadie and Shane Garrison were here I had prepared three racks of ribs – and with the exception of maybe three bones those were wiped out in one fell swoop in less than 30 minutes. That’s not to mention the potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans and beets.
On Saturday we were up early as Marilyn popped that 22 plus pound turkey in the oven to earn a golden brown finish. Add to that some more beets, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green beans, corn and of course Mac and Cheese. We had some cranberry sauce as well.
Beth added a broccoli casserole, and Carol, who arrived before dinner with grandson Evan and friend Allyson Martin contributed pretzel salad, deviled eggs, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and chocolate Oreo chocolate cake. Allyson added two and a half dozen homemade rolls and we were set to have a feast.
A feast it was. I am telling you I believe there were some sparks jumping off some of those forks as that food swept around the table.
It was an amazing meal. The only downside to the entire day was that Amy, Ben, Analise, Antonio and Isaiah could not be here for the family celebration. We will get to see them at Christmas but we won’t have everyone together before next summer and that is a maybe.
Besides the great family time there were some of those special moments, which help create what I fondly refer to as the little things.
Before we settled down to eat Sadie Jo bowed her head and said a wonderful blessing before the dinner, asking God to bless those who had prepared the food and the meal we were about to eat.
I was sitting in my recliner as she stood right in front of me to say the prayer and I watched as she folded her hands, lowered her head and said the words of the prayer with definite conviction. As I have said this was one of those special moments.
On Saturday morning before the big lunch I loaded Sadie into the vehicle and took her to Chick Fil A for a breakfast sample but more importantly to play in the play area at the Ashland store.
What Sadie didn’t know was that Sarah Kate Barfield, with whom she attended kindergarten and who became one of her very best buddies, was going to be there. After a few texts with the Barfields it was possible to work out the surprise meeting for these young ladies. Sadie was ecstatic and talked about that very special surprise and seeing her young friend. Again, there is one of those special moments.
After lunch part of my responsibility was to carry out the garbage. As little as I have to do this is certainly something I didn’t hesitate to carry out. When I came back into the kitchen there was Sadie Bug bent over the trash can putting in a new trash bag liner. She proclaimed, “I thought I would do this to help you Papaw.” You don’t have to ponder for even a moment that it was one of those special moments. Yes, one of those very special little things.
Part of our family’s routines is to gather at the dining room table for some, let’s say, competitive games of Rook or the infamous Hand and Foot.
When Evan was here on Saturday he has been pining to play Rook. While I will say he understands some of the concepts of the game when it becomes competitive he gets a little anxious and misplays cards at times.
So, in an effort to help him learn the game and become a player in his own right Papaw was called in to help coach and advise this young Rook player. We would discuss the cards in his hand. I taught him to match suit, put in numerical order – logic he as a math whiz could understand.
Evan is very logical and likes things to be in order. We worked together on three hands and then on the final hand he went it on his own. It was special sitting there talking with him and helping him learn.
When the game was over he came by, gave me a high five and said, “thanks.” That too was a special moment, one of those little things.
The older I get the more I enjoy those little moments. The more I think about the times in my life I was the beneficiary of these special little things. It’s the small things in life.
I can think back to the mid-1970s when I had surgery. I couldn’t get out of the bed. Carol stayed home from school to be with me. She walked up to the market a block and a half away and carried an 8-pack of 16 ounce bottles of Pepsi back to the house. She then played cards with me to keep me entertained the entire day. We didn’t have television in the bedroom so we listened to music the entire day. Another very special moment.
Each child in my life has had some of the special moments that I likely took for granted at the time. Life is hardly ever those big things that we sort of sit around and await. It is a constant gathering of those small things that really create our lives.
With Beth it was another kind of special moment that I will never forget. She was maybe 8 or 9 years old and we were in Russell. We had driven to visit my momma and aunt for the weekend. It was a Saturday afternoon and mom took Beth to the backyard. Mom sat down under a tree, plucked a blade of grass and holding it between her folded hands brought about a whistle. As long as I live I will never forget the look on Beth’s face. It was one of those special moments.
When we lived in Breckinridge County, Hardinsburg to be exact, Amy pitched for the varsity softball team. The team was scheduled to play at Ft. Knox. We went over to the game, where she pitched an 8-0 shutout. It was just us, Marilyn had stayed home. We went to Long John Silver’s and discussed that entire game. It was great. It was an afternoon I’ll always remember. Before leaving Russell following her eighth grade year Amy had earned two varsity letters: one for cross country one for softball. This was before she ever reached high school. Quite an accomplishment in my mind.
When our family lived in Nevada I was lucky enough to get tickets for Michael and me on the front row behind the dugout to the Dodgers – Reds game in Los Angeles. It was a trip of many moments from a spilled soft drink as I tried to go out the in and ran over the ground gas top covers. Then on the trip home a frosty slid across the Astro Van we had and went everywhere. We stayed in a motel where there were gunshots all night long and partying in the parking lot until dawn. We had limited sleep. We made it home – and oh, yes, the Reds won 7-0 and I got to speak to Don Gullett as he went with Scott Williamson to the bullpen.
I am so fortunate to be able to remember with some clarity and detail many of these moments that now account for memories I can always count on to make me smile. None of the participants may remember any these events at all – but I surely do.
It’s what can make life oh, so special. Yes, it’s those small things.
And so, for another week, thanks and thirty.