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Can You Smell It?

When I prepare to add an entry to my blog I try and take a snap shot of what is going on in my life at that particular time.  Whether I share with you an event, or my feelings about something going on in the world or in my home, I am seldom at a loss for what to share.  This month I am!   My mind keeps focusing forward, the future holds much promise and joy.

I can almost smell Fall in the air, not quite, but almost.  I don't know how to explain what Fall smells like, but I know it the minute it hits my nose.  That little hint of it has me thinking of the holidays!
I know, I have ranted before about how early they put out Christmas and this time will be no different.  Did you notice that Christmas is out already - - before Halloween!

Seriously, the holidays are looming quickly and I am taking stock of where I am in my life.  Not where I generally am this time of year for sure.  And, what about those kiddies of mine?  I am one of those who has their Christmas shopping 75% completed by Thanksgiving!

I have a new grand baby that will be gracing us with her presence in early November (late October if she is impatient!).  So, our Thanksgiving prayers this year will include a special thanks for the blessing of this sweet child in our lives. James and Nique will both be here to share in our feast, along with my Aunt and Uncle who have continued to come even after my mom passed in 2006.  Each year the table gets smaller and the chatter gets less.  How I long for the feeling of those days of past!

There was a time when my house would be bubbling with activity in preparation for Thanksgiving.  Whitney and I would begin talking about our "theme" for the table that year before Halloween (yes, before Halloween!).  Then we would start shopping for any items we might need to purchase to make this theme come together.  Some years our table was adorned with acorns and pine cones requiring a few new tableclothes, and other years we have dressed the table in candles and crystal requiring a bit more of the finances.

No matter the theme or the cost, she and I would begin the deep cleaning process the weekend before.  I keep a clean home (David would tell you I am a bit OCD) but feel that I allow it to be dirty enough to be comfortable and homey without being stodgy and uptight; so our cleaning went that extra stretch and included the hand washing of the china.

I have taken the day before Thanksgiving off for years.  Whitney and I would "get our cook on".  Pies, desserts, side dishes and such.  The turkey would be unwrapped, washed and readied for the next day.  The house was a buzz with the sights and smells of the pending holiday.

T-day is organized chaos to get the table set, the food cooked and ready all at the same time and served to your guests still hot.  The sign of a good host is the accomplishment of this feat!

Back in the day the house buzzed with my children and their friends.  How I miss it!  Even the bickering with the children who were not into the decorating or the cleaning and preparation like Whitney and I.   Thankfully my memories keep me smiling. . .

I always had an open door policy so sometimes we would have 15, 20, even 24 people at our table.   I would set up table after table after table, all decorated beautifully to entertain our guests.   My children brought their friends, mom and Michael brought friends; my Uncle met my Aunt and began bringing her and on occasion her son.  No one was ever turned away and every one knew that there was always an open seat at my house for the holidays.   The more the merrier.

My mom could never understand my desire to host these big holiday meals; she more often than not would tell me I was crazy but oh, so proud!   I sure do miss them; and my mom too.

There is a moment when all the guests gather round the food set nicely on the table when life is perfect.  The men pull out chairs for the women in their lives, every one finds their perfect spot and the smiles begin to appear.  There is always a scurry over who will say grace but once the formalities are done, the water and wine glasses (and beer bottles) are set neatly by the adult plates there is this moment. . .

My eyes wander from seat to seat and face to face watching.  The joy and happiness that fills the faces of my guests is something I soak in, commit to memory and thank God for having blessed me with the ability to share in it.

There are no worries, there are no concerns; there is food and good company and perhaps an alcoholic beverage.  Life is perfect, in this moment; for just awhile.

This year our table will be less filled but the food will be good.  Nique and I will not discuss themes but we will "get our cook on" the day before and we'll work together on Thursday to make those we love sit back and smile and forget the worries of the world again.

I can almost smell Fall, can you?