Whatever unlucky fowl graces our table is given the utmost respect, moist and savory, inspiring a healthy Blanchard nap. There is nothing mundane or predictable about my Mama's turkey -- if anything is worth doing, she'll do it 100%. I am not surprised if the turkeys think to themselves, "Well, if I have to go like this, I'd like to go with her..."
And it seems before we've finished folding the whipped cream into the ambrosia, we've folded Thanksgiving Day into the Christmas season.
I can smell the cinnamon, molasses, pumpkin and pecans. I can see the piles of mini pecan pies, the perfectly cracked and sugar-dusted molasses cookies (my Daddy's favorite?), the explosively beautiful and delicious Russian teacakes. I can help with the miniature loaves of cranberry orange bread, wrapped in red or green cellophane and tied with curly ribbons to share with friends and neighbors.
I can hear Handel's Messiah...
Bells jingle and packages come with ringing doorbells. Each year the shopping is a little more mature and well-thought, and every year our littlest brother is more passionate about giving whatever he has, totally from the deepest recesses of his heart, for he knows of no other way of giving.
I love to sit awake after everyone's gone to bed but me and my Sister, and we turn out all the lights but the Christmas tree ones, and we sit like a tree skirt and read or write with pets curled at our feet. Those white lights are mesmerizing, and they twinkle like stars telling promises for the fulfillment of prophecies ages old...we still wait for some fulfillment.
The sky ripped in two one year when we had a Christmas without our Daddy -- his work for the world peace got in the way. And we celebrated the Prince of Peace in our living room and missed our Daddy, but we were blessed beyond measure and he returned us for many more years.
I bring hot tea and honey in a travel cup to sing Christmas melodies with my Sister harmonizing at midnight, or celebrate the body of Christ brought down to man in an enormous, awe-inspiring cathedral with my Brother.
I don't know what made me think I could live without Christmas. I was a fool for a year or so ... and still am in other ways!
It's not the day itself, or the gifts, or even the traditions, but the sights and sounds and smells. The melodies and memories. The celebration of our deepest hopes, answers to prayers, promises for the future. How can we live without a celebration of the past, a gratitude for the present, and a hope for the future?
I am bowed down low in gratitude that harmony rings through the halls when I go home for Christmas. I am so thankful that it's where my heart is happiest. I ache for those who dread the season for its threat of sheer togetherness. I can never be thankful enough, nor ever forget the blessing of having a wonderful beloved family and many surrogate families who embrace me like I'm one of them. Both a house and a Home to go to.