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For a girl who grew up in a large Irish clan full of loving loudmouths, Thanksgiving Day kicks off a time of family, food, fellowship, and…football, of course. 'Tis the season of goodwill and, for our family, the holiday table has always been ground zero for experiencing the joy of the season. Each year, beginning in mid November, the table expanders were pulled from the closet to accommodate the extra bodies that inevitably joined our gatherings. Stampedes into the living room to secure the best seat for the game followed the hours of overeating, conversation and laughter.
Come to think of it, that describes my memories of pretty much any given fall or winter Sunday when I was a girl.
With eight kids, our table was large even before the expanders were inserted. On normal days, that scared stretch of wood sat ten and there was rarely an open seat. One side didn’t actually have chairs. Instead, there was an oversized, hard wooden bench that stretched the full length of the table. Thank God we were a skinny bunch, since most of the time, those relegated to the bench shared it with four other bottoms.
The fact is, the only thing that distinguished Thanksgiving and Christmas from just about every other weekend at our table was the expanded menu. Christmas meant roast beef, one of Dad’s specialties and a personal favorite of mine, while Mom oversaw Thanksgiving and the dry bird. She made a mean cherry pie but, unfortunately, like me, she wasn’t much of a cook. (Hence the skinny butts)
Many years have passed since our clan gathered around that scarred table, but the raucous and wonderful memories we made there never fade—like the yearly battle over the wishbone, or the year dad choked out a laugh at something my brother said, and spittled dessert over all of us. We have our own tables now in Boston, Orlando, Tampa, Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix. Mom, Dad, and a beloved brother share a table in Heaven these days, and thousands of miles separate the rest of us, but the love and laughter we found at that table draw us back together often.
So, as we enter this joyous season and you and yours gather around your own holiday tables, here is my wish for you. May your Turkey be juicy, your favorite team victorious, and your bottom skinny.
When Mac isn’t gathering for the holidays with family and friends, she spends her time weaving HEAs for her characters, like Gabe and Jane, the hero and heroine of A CASE FOR CALAMITY, a Christmas novella via