Thankful to be counted at the table

By Chelle Delaney: QCS Staff

Thanksgiving dinner is when families gather? Right?

Wrong.

Not just families. Thanksgiving is often an open house. Hospitable families add to their family Thanksgiving by bringing in “others,” people who would otherwise spend Thanksgiving alone.

Like people without families – or people just beginning families. The widowed gen tleman from down the block, the young couple with no children yet (but she’s pregnant), a friend without a family, a friend of that friend.

Thank heaven, they all seem to wind up together with their host’s family.
Of course, they don’t just drift in … they’re invited.

When families plan for their Thanksgiving dinner; they often think about who, besides family, should be sitting around their table – or tables.

Or, to put it another way, they think about people who have no family, who are far from their relatives and who should become their “family” for that day.

The “invitations” are simple – “Hey, if you’re not doing anything else, come over for Thanksgiving.” Or, “You’re coming for Thanksgiving again, aren’t you?”

Naturally, when those invitations go out, the table in the dining room just isn’t big enough. Adjacent tables have to be added.

One hospitable family I heard about invited so many “others” that one of the three tables spilled into the living room and to go from one end of the tables to the other, you had to go through other rooms to get to the buffet.

And after the main course is everyone’s favorite, the desserts such as pumpkin pie, pecan pie and other such sweets that all hosts promise have no calories on this day.
But desserts don’t usually end the Thanksgiving get-together. Often the hours are filled with talk, football on TV, the family’s patriarchs or matriarchs gather in some nook or remain in the kitchen to talk about things that are, today, “history.” It’s a good place to hang out, to learn about family roots.

And when parting eventually begins, it’s a reluctant parting.

Because, as the family and the “others” agreed, it was a day they were thankful for.
So when we think of Thanksgiving Day as being a “family day,” maybe we should recognize and be thankful it is for the family we all belong to, the human family.

Chelle Delaney is associate publisher of the Quay County Sun. Contact her at 461-1952 or
chelle_delaney@link.freedom.com