I learned long ago never to ask, "What else could go wrong?" It began the night before when I blinked a little too long (I fell asleep in the chair) and scorched the stuffing that had taken hours to prep. Forging ahead in the morning, I got the turkey and one pie in the ovens. The Kids were due to arrive at ten and, for once, I was actually on time. The last task before going to the barn was to damp mop the kitchen. I have one of those stick mops with the attached bottle of cleanser activated by a trigger, quick and easy. I filled the bottle and started, only to find that the trigger had broken and the cleanser was pouring out in a steady stream. I could have been the broom man on a curling team as I raced to scrub the floor ahead of the flood. With four feet to go, the danged mop went dry. Of course it did. It was that kind of day. Going back to the start line, on hands and knees with a roll of paper towels, I sopped up standing water. What began as a fifteen minute job turned into forty-five minutes and, surprise, I was under the gun again. I was still milking Inga when Deb and Craig drove up. No problem. Last in line, Sheila is a fast milker and I'd be out of the barn in no time. She was right there by the barn door, waiting for Inga to come out. "Good girl, Sheila; come right in and get your breakfast." She looked at me with that blank expression that goats do so well, turned around and headed for the far end of the pen. Deb and Craig had strolled out to see the girls and were witness to my humiliation. Grabbing the rope, I followed Sheila up the hill to the water trough, back and forth along the fence line, and around the barn a time or two as the Kids waited. Knees already creaking from crawling around the kitchen, I was ready to abandon the game when Sheila stopped at the barn door as if wondering what had taken me so long. I will admit I called that goat every name but Sheila.
Dave and Pinto drove up shortly after I'd (finally) finished in the barn, and Clay came soon after. The worker bees kicked into action. Deb and Craig peeled and cut ten pounds of potatoes. Pinto brought wagon loads of firewood to the porch. Dave and Clay worked down in the shop, uninstalling a huge vise for which Dave had found a buyer. Cherry pie out of the oven, I had the pecan pie ready to go in. Craig is the official turkey baster. Larry and Susan arrived just in time to sit in as Dave broke out the cards and counted chips. Let the games begin! Leaving the poker table to make the pumpkin pie and put together some other dishes in the kitchen, I loved hearing the constant laughter and teasing in the other room. There was a call and several texts from Pete, the missing and missed son, before we cleared the decks for dinner.
There is no more rewarding sound for a cook than the silence that falls after the bowls and platters have been passed, plates are filled and diners begin to eat. Ahhh, it's all worthwhile in just that moment.
The Kids cleaned up the kitchen, I put the critters to bed, we celebrated Craig's and Susan's birthdays, and played more poker. Leftovers were parcelled out before the goodbye hugs and "Love you's." The day that had begun so poorly had turned into a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for any day spent with my loved ones.