Scott picked us up at the airport where I met Steve on Wednesday afternoon, I arriving from Virginia and Steve from Washington state. The next morning, the younger child was up at 5:30 AM followed shortly thereafter by the elder. They had been threatened on pain of death not to wake us up that first morning as Papa needs to overcome jet lag, but the excitement of our arrival has overcome any ability to sleep, so a bleary-eyed parent was down in the living room finding appropriate cartoons on the TV.
Around 7:00, I stumble down the stairs to the joyful cries of “Nana! Nana!” (Why isn’t my arrival everywhere greeted with such delight?) After a half hour of Loony Toons, Papa’s tread on the stairs produces a second round of cheers.
The house has been cleaned, but after breakfast, we are given a blueprint for further polishing and tasks are distributed. Children are set to spray and wipe the baseboards in the kitchen, and the floor is mopped by a succession of helpers. Squabbling, snacks and naps ensue. Papa vacuums up the last of the dog hair while Scott pops the turkey into the oven and performs other magical acts in the kitchen.
A second table is moved into the dining room. The children have never experienced a special children’s table before, and they are thrilled with the idea. The aroma of the Bird is beginning to make tummies growl.
Nothing can be tasted, however, until the arrival of the cousins. Yes, this year there are cousins! Two cousins of appropriate genders and ages and one baby for additional fun. Is there anything more entrancing than that? The pairings soon become clear. The five- and three-year-old boys became super heroes (of course), attacking Papa in order to save the world. The eight- and five-and-a-half-year-old girls sit in front of the doll house, assiduously grouping furniture and laying out wardrobes. The baby sits on the floor spell-bound by the St. Barnard who is mostly restrained from licking her face with a tongue the size of her head.
Don’t fight each other: Papa is the Super-Villain!
The adults are talking, of course. Gist for the mill includes (small plug here) the book Ben (Winters) is working on, the second in the Last Policeman trilogy. The family is forming a pool as to whether he’s going to end the world or not. I say it’s Ben, he’ll save us and give us a happy ending. Stephanie says he’ll squash us like a bug on the floor. The Winters family have only recently moved to the area, but the family comfort level hasn’t slipped a millimeter. We talked and talked, and then we ate. And ate. Because that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, right? We ate turkey with all the fixin’s; we had two kinds of pie; we had happiness; we had love.