Thanksgiving was going to be a small enough crowd this year to sit down at the table. The Nashes were having their own dinner, with all twenty of them, but two of the girls got stuck in Juneau as there was no ferry Weds. and a snowstorm kept planes grounded. But Thurs. the snow turned to rain and it got really windy and so they made it up on time, although Corrie said the landing was a little sketchy, to say the least, as they bounced around over the river and made the hair pin turn to the runway. But by then the other brothers and their families had made alternative plans, and their family feast was already moved to Saturday.  You can give thanks any day.
So when Becky Nash called to see if they were still invited, JJ cheered. She and Stoli hadn’t come all the way from Anchorage for a relatively quiet family day. So we had nine of us, eight friends, ten Nashes and  five dogs ( our three plus my neighbors brought little Mr. Tubbs and Sarah brought her blood hound.)Don cooked a venison leg on the grill, I roasted a turkey with moose sausage stuffing and made the potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, asparagus vinegarette and the rolls, Sue brought creamed curried onions and green bean casserole, Jamie brought organic yams, and Sarah made the pumpkin pies. Becky brought a pumpkin cake and Aaron made his smoked salmon spread. J.J. made an apple and a chocolate cream pie. It was loud and fun, with the children all playing with the blocks and wooden trains. The  dogs behaved. My son-in-law Brian wore his Packers’ jersey and some football game was on the muted TV, but I never saw anyone watching it.
Don said grace, as usual, and there was a hitch in his voice and when he thanked God for friends and family and many other memorable meals. Ten years ago, just before Thanksgiving, the Nashes fishing boat sank and they lost their youngest son. That year we had about four big turkey dinners like this one in November. It was all we could think of to help. Everyone still had to eat. This year, Becky noted that ten years later her family has grown by ten– with the new spouses and children– one of the youngest, baby Noah, was with us yesterday.
By the time the last guests left I had lost my voice and the hearing in one ear and was feeling dizzy. (I had skipped the Turkey Trot because I knew a cold was coming on.) I slept twelve hours and woke up sicker. This is not good, since today is the Lighting of the Library, and I was supposed to greet people at the door, help serve food and have volunteered my family on the clean-up crew.
Fortunately, it is a good day to be in bed. It is stormy and wet with green surf  rolling up the now bare beach  on the ebbing tide (it is hard to believe I had to snowshoe to walk the dogs on Weds.) The gusts sound like distant thunder in the eaves. In the kitchen the turkey carcass is in the pot becoming soup,  I can hear the kids making waffles, playing the piano, laughing and talking.
J.J. just came in with some Throat Coat tea, and a leftover roll toasted with raspberry jam, and a handful of cough drops. “Sorry you don’t feel well” she said. “Too bad we don’t have a little bell you could ring.” Then she looked at me in my jammies under the quilt with my laptop, and then out the window down at the windy waves and said ” well, at least you have a pretty sweet set up.”
I sure do, and this is the least of it. Even with the flu, there is much to be thankful for.