Ponderings by Doug

The Thanksgiving tradition has been to have the meal where my in-laws live. In the thirty years of marriage, I have eaten Thanksgiving in Levelland, Odessa and Georgetown, Texas. We had Thanksgiving once in Overland Park, Kansas. We missed Thanksgiving when they lived in Minnesota. This year the family is descending on Gibsland, Louisiana. Yes, my mother-in-law lives with us.

In previous years, I did not pay attention.

My job was to drive the family to the meal and back. I oversaw nothing. As the designated preacher, I offered grace before the meal most years. I knew where my place at the table was and waited until the appropriate moment to fill my plate and eat the feast. 

Not so this year. I am paying attention. I have noted the guest list. There are only eighteen people attending this event. That is down a considerable number from previous years. It seems that hotel accommodations pose a challenge in north Louisiana. Some of the family, now has family of their own and their family trumps the in-law family. There is the usual sickness, pregnancy, and pouting that goes on with big family gatherings. I don’t know where those eighteen people are going to eat in our small house.

Speaking of eating, I have never paid attention to the menu. The food is always fantastic. I have never noticed that the menu is set in stone and “thou shalt not request any deviation from the Palmer family Thanksgiving menu.” This is the very reason we have meetings of the committee that married into this family. All of us interlopers talk about the main family and their obsessive ways. I asked if we could have “peas” this year and was informed that we always have green beans. I have also been informed that we shall have three pumpkin pies, three pecan pies, and two cream cheese pies. It is the law of the Palmer Thanksgiving meal.

You can’t change the menu. An in-law is not allowed even to comment on the menu or tell what they liked their family Thanksgiving meal as a child.

I am being a good husband and shopping for the ingredients for the proscribed Thanksgiving meal. I even have the privilege of selecting and purchasing the turkey.

I am thankful that this year I won’t have to drive six hours to Thanksgiving. They are all coming this way. I am thankful for my bride’s large loud family. I am thankful for a menu that has not changed in their family since John Smith was a little pilgrim.

I am thankful that I live in this great community in this great nation. I am most humbly grateful for my faith in Christ. I am thankful for all the Christians in my family tree and for my mom who drug me to church when I didn’t want to go. I am thankful for my wife, my kids, my dogs and for Trinity UMC in Ruston.

I hope you have a list of the blessings in your life. They are unique to each of us. As I reflect on my list, I have discovered that it is hard to be mad when you are glad. Discovering the many ways that you are blessed is one way to make your soul glad!

Have a happy Thanksgiving.