Valdosta Daily Times

November 19, 2012

Giving thanks for surviving Thanksgiving

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Are you ready? They’re coming. Family for Thanksgiving. With gas prices dropping and the holiday here, relatives are traveling over the river and through the woods. Some may arrive today. Some may arrive Wednesday. Some may just pull into town for Thanksgiving dinner then be on their way before the traditional football game’s fourth quarter. In some cases, family arrived a day or two ago, already filling guest bedrooms, using all of the hot water, and causing you to wait for the bathroom in your own home.

Or perhaps, you are one of those packing suitcases today, preparing for travel and several days with family.

You are the one who will be traveling over the river and through the woods, trapped for several hours in a car with children whose vocal volume is only outdone by the smell of their sweaty feet, or you’re filling up the gas tank, or standing in an overcrowded airport, or showing up to sleep in the room where you once slept as a child. Or perhaps you will find yourself sitting at the kiddie table for your 30-something Thanksgiving.

It will be a crowded few days. Crowded with food, crowded with football, crowded with shopping, crowded with family, crowded at the dinner table, crowded in the kitchen, in the living room, in the bedrooms, in the bathrooms, crowded, crowded, crowded ...

As Ben Franklin said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Especially, again, if some of these guests are boys who keep removing their stinky tennis shoes.

But we digress.

While the coming days may be hectic and crowded — have we mentioned crowded? — we should all take a deep breath, not too deep a breath or you may knock over one of grandma’s ceramic knickknacks, and remember to crowd these days with memories.

Take stock. Time and experience have sadly proven that grandparents will not be around forever for future Thanksgivings. Those small children, smelly feet and all, may still be sitting at the kiddie table in future Thanksgivings, but before we know it, they will be adults who are only home for a few days before returning to their new homes and families.  

So, amidst the noise, the crowds, the smells, and even the squabbles, be thankful for these strange beings called family. Be thankful for their sharing your table, be thankful for time spent together, be thankful even for hearing your uncle’s boasts for the millionth time and for the taste of your aunt’s deviled eggs that could use just a smidge more mustard.

Be thankful for your families, and be thankful, too, that in a matter of days, everyone will have gone their way ... at least for another month until Christmas.