Thomasville Times

I got one wish, Thanksgiving I had been seeking all fall

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Holidays have a theme. This year the theme of our family Thanksgiving was distant cousins and random strangers. We went to have Thanksgiving with my sister and her family.

Her house was full in the sleeping quarters, so my daughter, granddaughter and I rented a little VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) for those who have yet to play the game of finding a place on the internet where you can stay for about the same as a motel per night.

I have fallen in love with Aiken, South Carolina where we stayed, which is 13 miles from her house. It is a little town about the size of Meridian. It has the charm that Selma used to have before she fell on hard times.

We rented a little two bedroom, one bath house as our crash pad for the holiday. It was charming. It was in the historic district. Everything had been updated except for the bathroom.

It reminds me of how I grew up, with one bath serving five people. It was normal back then. This was a small brick house with a spacious front porch and a working fireplace. We spent most of the time with family anyway, so size really didn’t matter.

It was an interesting Thanksgiving. The first thing that happened was that Betsy’s former brother in-law, whose family still joins in for the celebration, announced that he had invited a friend of his who had just gone through a divorce to join us. The fellow was at loose ends with no plans for the holiday. He lived within driving distance so he would be showing up soon.

When Betsy heard his name, she laughed out loud. He was a distant cousin of ours who had grown up in Thomasville. Betsy used to babysit him and his brother when he was little. He had not grown very much except in width. We could see family resemblances to other relatives that were a long way off down the family tree. We talked about our mutual relatives.

Somehow though, he got confused on one point he said his mother used to talk about a relative that he thought was my grandmother who cursed like sailor all the time.

My grandmother was a meek little lady. After chewing over his comment in the car on the way home, we realized who it was his mother was talking about.

My grandmother had a sister-in-law who fit the cussing description perfectly.

The comment was right, just talking about the wrong person. He was the distant relative part of Thanksgiving.

The random strangers part was provided by a daughter-in-law.

She had invited a friend who had just gotten a divorce to come to the celebration, somehow neglecting to inform my sister or my sister had so much on her mind, she missed the main details.

The woman had four strapping sons who each arrived with a casserole in tow.

My sister looked at me and said “They must have the wrong house. Maybe they are looking for their grandmother who lives next door.” Other random strangers, at least to the out of town family, were a couple who had five children, six years old and under.

Betsy has several preschool grandchildren so their presence didn’t create much additional havoc.

Things would have gone better for visiting if it hadn’t started to rain during the dinner. We had to scurry inside for dessert. Betsy has a large deck which works well for around 40 people of all ages. We learned that her house worked fairly well for crowds, too, as we gathered inside. Fortunately, most of the children were entertained outside, not minding the rain as much as the adults.

Betsy’s husband had turned the backyard into an amusement park with a zipline and four wheelers. Some of the smaller ones had brought their bicycles. They left them in the driveway where one was run over.

Fortunately the bicycle was very small and went right under the SUV with no apparent damage. We just rolled with the flow and everything worked out fine.

I got one wish that I had been seeking all fall. Finally, all the trees had turned bright autumn colors and lined the roadways all the way from my house to South Carolina.

I had wished hard for a beautiful autumn display. It showed up at the last possible minute because it started raining the day I left.

Sometimes when we wish for something, we get it but just not when we expect it. It was a great holiday. Fun, fun, tree color, distant relatives and random strangers!

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