We had Thanksgiving left-overs for supper last evening. Mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, stuffing (interpret as a verb), sweet potatoes, turkey, everything except cranberries. It was as good as Thanksgiving dinner. After 3-4 bites, I slid my fork for a bite of potatoes, stuffing and gravy, when loneliness, nostalgia or something poured over me like a heavy breeze.

Two or three years ago, Carole was trying to figure out how we could expand our table to accommodate the crowd. We discussed adding on a room or moving the table into the living room. Last time I did remodeling just before a holiday with guests didn’t work out so well, so we abandoned tearing out a wall. Just as well. In 2020 the three of us would have felt like being a party of six in a sanctuary built for 2500. But probably no jail time.

I do not know what that “breeze” was about, but it was strong. I remember I was dragging the fork to the left to load it. Vivid! As much as I like the food, it is secondary to the table talk and interaction.

  1. “What are you doing? Building? Writing? Work? Dreaming?”
  2. “What are you thinking?”
  3. “What are you reading?”
  4. “Who are you listening to?”
  5. “What music is on your playlist?”
  6. “Met anyone interesting, lately?”
  7. “What is Jesus saying to you?”
  8. “Funny things you’ve heard?”

(Example:  Friends in Nashville stopped at McDonalds and ordered two decaf coffees with cream in one. The lady taking the order asked, “Cream?…in which one?”)

Stories need a group. The three of us talked, shared good conversation and some laughter and praise. But no one interrupted and it was not raucous. Blue Zones headline—

“Even if You’re Arguing, Eating Together Can Help Your Family Eat Healthier”

We three couldn’t even start a good argument. We might have gotten by with a Cornish hen.

One of my favorite counselors talked about the importance of traditions and the loss extent when there are none or they are neglected. Like, who carves the bird? I missed brewing flavored coffee after dinner.

Coffee. Maybe I missed Grandpa Benton who on holidays sat in the chair with arms. Grandma sat in the chair with no arms to slow her on the way to the kitchen. After Uncle loosened his belt, Grandma would bring the coffee pot. Grandpa Harry would pore his coffee from the cup into the saucer and blow cool it which always strained the sensitivities of Grandma Edith. Anyway that was the traditional exchange between them.

I was blessed by being at table with two tribe members. But, it was different and some room in my soul reacted to the loss. I pray this is not our new normal. I’m not in the mood to test drive any new minimalist traditions.

Advent starts tomorrow. Someone said, “Advent is not something we celebrate, it something we keep.”

I’m still picking the meat off the bones of Thanksgiving.

©2020 D. Dean Benton

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