Kimberly did an incredible job of making this Thanksgiving joyous and positive for everyone, even though we all felt Dad's absence tremendously. For the past few years, Kim has prepared Thanksgiving dinner at her house--an enormous task that has become even more grand in scope in recent years, as the list of those she welcomes into her house has expanded. Today there were more than a dozen people there, including a few I didn't know well--friends of Cole's and Jess's who enjoyed great food and the company of their friends.
Kimberly and her fiance, Phil, have done a wonderful job of improving an already impressive home. Phil has masterminded the remodeling of Kim's primary bathroom--a task that is so far beyond my knowledge and ability that I can only marvel at its completion. Since Phil had a home of his own, he and Kim have deftly incorporated two households into one, blending furniture and decor to create a home that represents the both of them.
Cole and Christy had the second-toughest job of the day (second only to Kim's herculean efforts in preparing a feast for all): they had to drive from their house to Christy's Mom's house in Smyrna, back to Rome to Kim's house, and then to Cole's dad's house... that's three Thanksgiving dinners and about four and a half hours of driving with an eight-month-old Oliver. Ollie's a fine, well-behaved lad, but travelling with an eight-month-old is demanding no matter how well-behaved the child is.
We got to talk to Phil for a while, which was one of the day's highlights; Phil's years living in Australia, plus his job-related forays around the world, make for dozens of interesting stories. I look forward to hearing many more over the years to come...
Kim's efforts to make enough food for everyone led to one minor smoke alert: the sweet potato casserole overflowed in the oven, and the sugary excess burning off created a bit of a smoky haze in the kitchen. This, too, has become a tradition: it appears that Kim's recipe creates exactly as much as the pan will hold plus about three tablespoons more--and those three tablespoons become a libation to the god of fire. It's our annual burnt sacrifice, I guess. I know that Dad would have laughed had he been there.
My biggest regret was that I had less time to talk to Cole and Christy and Jess and Adam than I would have liked; Cole and Christy have made Mom and Dad's house their own, while Jess and Adam have moved into Phil's house, so everyone has played musical houses in the past month, and I'm still curious to hear more about how that experience has gone. I also am curious to know what they've been up to; now that they live on their own as adults, I know less about their day-to-day activities than I did when they were living with Kimberly, and I'm eager to know how they're doing. I miss hearing from them, but they have their own lives to live now.
One of Kim's hallway photos is a snapshot of her and Dad, taken at a time when he was healthier and less burdened by the sorrows and worries that haunted the shadows of his last year or so. It's a happy photo, and I gazed at it several times, just to remind myself of how Dad might have looked had he been with us.
I still miss Dad terribly, but I am so very thankful to Kim for creating an afternoon so pleasant that it could offset my melancholy.