A Thanksgiving Tale

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The hazy golden dusk illuminated the sky behind their silhouettes in the cool evening air.  The cars stopped and the elegant family of deer crossed.  The leader had a staggering limp.  Yet the two does stayed at her flank and did not attempt to cross quickly or ahead of her.  The large buck, his antlers glorious and scenic against the autumn backdrop of mountains and sunset color, stayed back with the two infants as they gingerly crossed.

In the chaos of a grocery store I stood looking seriously at disposable pans when an elder gentleman approached softly.

“Are you going to make a turkey?” he asked.

I smiled at the man whose dark tilted eyes revealed close to a century of memories and Thanksgivings.  His wife had fallen, he said.  Thank the Lord she was home from the nursing home and rehab but she still couldn’t walk good.  And well, his hip was killing him but he thought he’d come out and get a few things.  A package of frozen hash browns and a plastic container of diced watermelon well out of season sat in his cart.  One of his children was going to bring them a Thanksgiving feast.

He pulled from his inner pocket a photograph of his son to show me.  Two photos, actually, side by side on a funeral program.  A handsome young man in a navy uniform and one of the young man as a joyful middle aged man.

“This is my boy,” he says.  “He got sick from the war and died.”  He didn’t elaborate.  He just folded the three year old paper and placed it back into his inner pocket.  “Once he died my wife and I went downhill.”

Now, the crowds in the aisles bustling with noisy carts and lines of folks faded as I watched him hobble away.

The family of deer safely crossed and nimbly flitted through the fencing.  They stood together grazing in the golden field.

May we all keep the spirit of Thanksgiving in our hearts tomorrow.  I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Simple Christmas Decor

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Decorating for the season is one of the great delights of the year for me.  I adore the fresh greenery and candlelight, the crooked tree (and when you think you have enough lights on the tree, add one more strand), the star alight, the stockings waiting for Santa.

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When the children were little our house looked like North Pole south.  Dollar store trinkets and cutouts, lights, and vintage decorations took over the house and filled the space with cheer and magic.  Visitors were often surprised then enchanted by the decor.  We love holidays in our home.

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As the children grew up and moved out and the dollar store trinkets broke, cutouts tore, things faded, my decorating took on a fresher take.  Strings of fairy lights still capture my adoration (and I refuse to get the LED lights…I will clean out Walmart’s shelves of twinkly lights if I must!) and oil lamps are humble and sweet.

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Places to sit that are cozy and private.  Vintage and children-made decorations from over the years dazzle and cause my heart to swell as I admire funky Santas and photos in homemade frames.  A life of raising children brought forth each season.

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The newest generation is mesmerized by her first viewing of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  Dinner is served on melamine Rudolph plates from Pottery Barn Kids.  She asked Santa for a dollhouse.  The magic continues.  The warmth of the season resonates in our home.

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Decorate simply.  A beautiful tree.  Branches of greens gathered where we got our tree decorate each space.  Light a candle.

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Enjoy the season, Friends.  Even if you had loss this year.  Even if you have sadness.  Let the beautiful joy of the season, the charity, the lights, the smiles, the music, the hope sweep over you and let you rest easy in front of a fire with a good book and a cup of tea next to a well lit Christmas tree.

Bocce (a new way to play!)

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Bocce is typically played on a court measuring roughly ninety by thirteen feet.  The one I learned on was much smaller than this but the court really doesn’t matter, it turns out.

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Images of Italian men with grappa playing after dinner fill my mind.  They are portrayed with color and prose in many of the books I read.  I learned from an older Italian man one summer in the mountains.

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I never had a court so I always played out in the yard, where hills and trees and paths made the game more interesting.  At a family reunion one year my grandma played and was a beast at this game.  Through the woods, across a trampoline, my demure grandmother hooped and hollered and was extremely competitive.

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Our new landscape made for a fine new field for us to play on.  The teams are set (and often changed as we go) and each team has their designated balls.  There are four pairs of different balls, two sets are the same color.  We split into two teams.  The first person throws the smaller ball, called the Jack, and he/she goes first.  The object of the game is to get your team balls closest to the jack.  You can knock a closer ball away or simply surround the jack but this is all much easier said than done as a patch of leaves, a rolling hill, or a fence post may divert your professional aim.

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If one team has two of the closest balls than they get two points.  If they only get one closest than they get one point.  Make up a number to play to.  We played to six then switched around the teams.  I do not recall the exact rules from that summer twenty years ago but it doesn’t really matter.  The rules come with the game.  The main object is to have fun!

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This game is every bit as fun with two people as it is with eight. We found an old bocce set at a garage sale but they are available at sports stores.  We got one for Doug’s dad at Dick’s Sporting Goods one year.

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Now, get outside and have some fun!