Journal for Christa—
Some of my favorite memories in life are of Thanksgiving. As a child we spent most of our Thanksgivings in southern Illinois with my grandparents. Coming from a large extended family, I was always surrounded by lots of relatives—baby cousins to cuddle, older ones to envy, uncles and grandpas to tease you, aunts to hug, and my grandmas could whip up more food than an Army cook.
When we were first married, living away from family, Jay worked at a food warehouse where the hours surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas were plenty and required. So, my friend Maxine and I built our own extended family of friends on Thanksgivings. We packed our houses with people, love, and food. And neither of us will ever forget the year that a neighbor dog ate the platter of dark meat right out of the back of Carol’s hatchback car. When Carol whipped back into the house with the two turkey legs in the untouched pan and sliced the meat off to make it look like more, I learned a valuable lesson: If two legs are all you’ve got, then two legs will have to do.
Once we moved out West, Thanksgivings were always Borkert celebrations, giving our children the same sense of love and belonging that I experienced so many Thanksgivings ago. Some piece of every wild game had to be saved and cooked on Thanksgiving. One year Jay’s poor mom dressed and cooked the most pathetic looking little squirrel that Joel had shot (I wouldn’t touch it), and his dad would eat a slice of every piece of meat and brag on how great it tasted. Those were bountiful years, even though Chris once convinced the parents on the wrestling team that we only ate potatoes the week before each payday, which was not true.
Of all my Thanksgivings, only two have been quiet. One was my first year of college. I was so homesick when I called Grandma’s and could hear all the voices in the background. And this year—but today, I simply feel thankful. While others were stuffing turkeys and running around their kitchens like one, I rolled over at 5:30 and went back to sleep. Instead of baking cinnamon rolls, I ate a few graham crackers to hold me over until we go to Joy’s for breakfast, where she’s making the rolls as I leisurely write. This year, I’ve taken time to gaze up at the mountains, envision all my children in their festivities, note what a good man Jay is, and been thankful. This afternoon Jay and I will join my sister at Mimi’s Café to eat their very good turkey dinner and come back here for pie. (I still do pie better than any restaurant—just sayin’). Though different this year, it’s a good Thanksgiving and one I’m thankful for.
Then Sunday, everyone will be back in town, and I’ll rip that old bird out of the frig and stuff it in the oven to cook while we’re at church. And again, with the house full of friends and family, it too will be Thanksgiving.
Christa, wishing you a most wonderful Thanksgiving!