( Intermediate Level )
For years all the boys would make their way back home for Allister’s family Thanksgiving. This year Marge and Glen would have to celebrate without their eldest son, Brandon. He joined the military one year ago and had been stationed overseas after finishing boot camp.
Their other two sons, the twins, Mathew and Eric, were both attending the local university and staying in the dormitory. Each had confirmed they would be home since their school would be on a five-day holiday break.
Eric had asked if he could bring his girlfriend, Bernadette since she is from another state and she wouldn’t have time to go back home. “Of course,” his mom replied, ” No one should be alone for the holidays. Tell your brother he can bring a friend too.“
Marge tried to keep her spirits up but this year she would miss Brandon. He chose to join the military instead of going to a university. He felt it was to his advantage for him to see the world while he was young and learn a trade. “There would be plenty of time to further my education, once I get out, Mom. “
Reluctantly, and with Bill’s convincing, she felt her son had made a good choice. “Honey, he is grown now and he is making his own choices now. You knew this day would come.”
Shedding a tear, “It doesn’t mean I have to like it.” She smiled up at him as Bill wrapped his arms around her allowing her to cry on his shoulder.
Thanksgiving week was next week and Marge had busied herself with preparing Brandon’s bedroom for Eric’s girlfriend. She was then setting up a spare twin bed in Mathew’s room where the two boys would sleep.
The boys didn’t want her to fuss over them coming home but she wanted to keep her mind busy. They planned on heading home on Wednesday night after their last classes. “We are not sure what time we will be in so don’t hold dinner for us. We will grab something on the way home.”
“Well I will make plenty just in case you get hungry later on“. she told Eric. He shook his head and smiled as he talked with her on the phone. ” I figured as much. We will see you soon!” They hung up and Marge’s spirit was higher. She hadn’t seen her sons since Easter.
On Monday, Marge and Bill headed to the local grocery store to buy last-minute things they needed for their Thanksgiving dinner. Bill was in charge of the wine and eggnog while Marge looked for all the ingredients she needed to start baking.
When Glen caught up to her in one of the aisles he looked in the cart. “I thought you only needed a few things?” as he smiled. “You shush, I want to make a few pies, and a couple of homemade loaves of bread, and the rest of these things are for the dinner itself.”
“The boys didn’t want you to fuss. I guess they forgot who you are!” She smiled back and the two headed to the checkout. Third, in line, they had plenty of time to make sure they had found everything they needed. As Marge surveyed the items in the cart she heard, “Hi neighbor.” Marge looked up to see her neighbor Delores and her husband standing in the net line.
“I see you are doing the same as us. We had a friend of Craig’s friends come unexpectedly for the holiday. He is home from the Army. He will spend a short time with us and then go see his parents.”
Immediately, Marge thought how lucky that man was to be home for Thanksgiving. “Brandon said he was unable to come home now. He said he may be able to come home after the first of the year.”
Delores quickly changed the subject seeing it was making Marge sad. “It was nice seeing you. If you have time on Thanksgiving stop by for coffee and dessert in the evening.”
The twins will come home on Wednesday with a friend or two. If we have time, Glen and I would love to stop by.“
That evening Marge busied herself making a couple of loves of whole grain loaves of bread and dinner rolls for the holiday dinner. She hadn’t given her conversation with Delores a second thought.
Tomorrow she had three pies to make. One apple, one pumpkin, and of course a pecan pie. It was one of Brandon’s favorites. Even though he wasn’t going to be home, a Thanksgiving wouldn’t be without having one of these pies.
Marge hoped all prep work would be done by Wednesday night and would leave her free to visit with her boys and their guests. Glen would want to have a card game for sure.
Everything came into place by Wednesday morning leaving Marge free to welcome her boys home. The smell of freshly baked pecan pies filled the air. She had to get up early to finish the last one.
It seemed senseless to have this particular pie since Brandon was the one who liked it the most. Hopefully, Eric’s girlfriend would, otherwise what it may get thrown away.
The phone rang and Glen answered. “Ok, I know your mom is anxious to see you. See you soon. He hung up and turned to Marge. “That was Mathew. Their classes were shorter today so they will be heading out within the hour. He said to expect them around three this afternoon.”
This put a smile on Marge’s face. She had made reservations at the Italian restaurant in town. Normally you wouldn’t need to make one but since it was the eve of Thanksgiving she wanted to make sure they were able to get a table.
Around three twenty the boys rolled into the driveway. Marge hurried out to greet them and smother them with kisses. Glen followed, allowing Marge to be first.
Eric introduced Bernadette to his parents. She was a beautiful young woman with auburn hair. “Thank you for allowing me to be part of your family’s dinner.”
“Nonsense, we wouldn’t want you to be all alone.” Marge gave her a hug. After mom got all her kisses, Glen made his way to his sons. They each shared a long hug with their dad.
Glen wasn’t one to shower you with pleasantries. Getting a high from him meant everything. You felt his love at that moment.
The rest of the afternoon they exchanged stories and settled in. Being home for five days and eating their mother’s food they would most likely gain a few pounds.
“What’s for dinner?” Marge laughed. It was the same old Mathew she remembers, who was always hungry. “I made reservations at Guido’s. I have a lot of cooking tomorrow and didn’t want to bother cooking tonight. Our reservation is at six so we need to leave here by five.”
That evening at dinner they all had a wonderful time telling stories. Some from the past and some recent. As each course finished the waitress came with a small spoon of sorbet for each to cleanse their palate.
Before they knew it two hours had passed and it was getting late. Marge needed to get up early to start cooking the twenty-seven-pound turkey. They enjoyed eggnog and cookies when they arrived home. Even though they claimed to be full, the boys managed to eat almost all of her homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.
“Good night everyone.” Marge hugged each of her boys and then turned to Bernadette. “If you need anything Glen and I are in the bedroom next to yours.” She gave her a hug too then headed upstairs.
Glen stayed up for another hour then he too bade them a good night. The rest followed within the hour. The boys knew their mother would be busy in the morning and wanted to help as much as possible.
The smell of turkey roasting in the oven woke the boys around nine. Bernadette was already up and in the shower. As they headed downstairs they heard a familiar voice. It was Delores from next door.
She was in a panic. The oven quit working halfway through roasting her turkey. She came over to see if their mom had room in the oven to finish cooking hers.
Of course, Marge made room and invited her and her husband and his friend to dinner. “We have more than enough food. On Monday when everything opens up you can call a repairman. No need to worry about Thanksgiving. You will spend it with us.“
“Thank you, Marge. I wouldn’t know what to do without you. Have the boys come over to get the card table out of the garage in an hour. I will clean it up and we will have more area to put food. I had already cooked a lot of things last night.”
“Sounds good. Dinner will be at two.’ Delores hugged Marge and headed home smiling. Everything was working out.
Around one Delores came back to help with last-minute preparations. Potatoes needed to be mashed. Gravy needed to be made and vegetables needed to be steamed.” My husband and his friend will be here shortly. I knew you would need help so I came a little earlier.”
Bernadette and the boys set the tables. Each table had beautiful orange table clothes with burnt orange cloth napkins. The centerpieces were simple- a platter of ornate multi-colored gourds with a few leaves scattered as an accent.
The doorbell rang and Glen answered the door. He stood there in silence. There stood his neighbor and Brandon. For the past few days, Brandon schemed with the neighbors to surprise his parents.
“Marge. You need to come out here.” Glen said with urgency in his voice. “Marge, did you hear me?” “My gosh Glen, I am trying to finish up our dinner. What is so urgent that you insist I come leaving the gravy thickening?”
As Marge came closer to the door where Glen stood, he pushed the door completely open to expose who was on the other side.”Brandon! Oh my God, you made it home! She quickly threw her arms around him.
Mathew and Eric had no idea and came running once they heard their mother’s conversation with the person at the door. Many hugs and smiles followed.
Delores and her husband stood watching the scene unfold. “Happy Thanksgiving you two.” She hugged her husband and held him tight. She was happy to be part of Brandon’s plan to make this Thanksgiving special for his family.
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Thoughts From Angel:
Of all the holidays we celebrate in America, Thanksgiving is the one I hold close to my heart. I have so many fond memories of our family dinners. Talking, eating, and catching up with one another then ending with a good game of cards. ( Mind you, I had a great aunt who liked to cheat at cards! )
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eldest – adjective : oldest
attending – verb: to be present
dormitory – noun: a room at a school for a student to stay
advantage – noun: favorable condition
reluctantly -adjective: unwilling, hesitant
convincing – adjective: capable of causing someone to believe that something is true or real
cry on (his) shoulder – idiom: to tell one’s troubles to someone in seeking comfort or sympathy
fuss over – phrasal verb : to pay a lot of attention to (someone or something)
spirit – noun: mood
ingredients – noun: contents,makings
shush -verb: a signal to be quiet
surveyed – verb: look carefully and thoroughly at
unexpectantly – adjective: surprising
anxious – adjective: a bundle of nerves
eve – noun: period of time immediately before an event or occasion
sorbet – noun: a dessert consisting of frozen fruit juice
palate – nouns: a person’s appreciation of taste and flavor
gourds – noun: a large round fruit with a hard skin
schemed – verb: make plans, especially in a devious way
Question ( s ):
Do you have a favorite holiday?
How about a memory associated with this holiday?
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