The day before Thanksgiving my daughter Emily called from South America to tell me to tell everyone in the family to write down a Thanksgiving memory and send it to her. I told the boys and Dave said, “Well, you know my memory stinks.” Jeff and I both nodded and Jeff, said, “Well, I’m writing about something more recent. I think new memories are the better ones usually.” I started reflecting a bit about those that I remembered growing up. I could write about the time I got my first speeding ticket speeding to the sunrise Thanksgiving service my friends and I went to every year…or the time I decided to shave my legs for the first time with my Dad’s blade, and sliced nearly to my shin. I hid that with long pants and a handy Kotex bandage. So I started thinking about more recent memories.
So I wrote:
When you kids were younger we were always watching Dad’s girls team play the whole week before Thanksgiving. And I was trying to get through the first three days of school and manage my exhaustion of working all day and cheering all night with both of you. We were always exhausted and a bit crabby when we arrived in Niles. But I remember my Dad, carving up the turkey and my mom happily singing in the kitchen and putting the finishing touches on an enormous meal. Dad always let me hang around and watch him carve. He never could relinquish that job, even to Uncle Joe who was a surgeon by trade. He always let me sample a few bites before we brought the platter out. I did it again this year…. and it made me smile. Grandma read her grace and we went around the room saying what we were thankful for and Grandpa finished, thanking our wonderful God for sending Jesus Christ into our broken world to rescue and redeem us. That is why I love Thanksgiving. That is why it is my favorite holiday.
Of course, you know that I have this huge memory so here is one more, a very important one:
It is strange how good things happen when we are in the car together. My favorite moment was when you and John picked us up at the airport when we came out to the mountains to celebrate Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. Right as we were pulling up to the hotel doors, you announced to all of us that you were going to have the baby, our baby – precious, beautiful, rocking baby Samantha Love Darnell. We didn’t know that she would be a girl or full of vinegar and laughter. We didn’t know anything in that moment. All I know is that it was one of the best moments of my life…that one little sentence you spoke on that snowy, joyful night.