Howdy folks! This is "The Husband" here... My sweetie has graciously allowed me to step in and say a bit. That and she's buzzing around with the kids, and food, and carefully dodging the cat and dog that are underfoot! I've never been much of one to "blog" because I've always been a very private kind of person, but my love has accomplished many things: one of which is to get me out of my shell more.
First off, I need to say how nice it is to now have kids old enough that they can drive. My son and his lady wanted to spend time together - so long as it is away from the drama that is family. (Both her's and ours.) So I gave him some money and said, "You're going shopping." ... And they happily did so! So they're out getting the last few items we wanted for our Thanksgiving (things like Coca-Colas from Mexico that are still made with real sugar and Promised Land Egg - Nog -- YUM!!!)
But on to more serious items: Thanksgiving has always had a special meaning to me and it always involved family. As a kid, I grew up on a ranch in West Texas where every year there would be an invasion of kin folks coming together. Headquarters (that's what we call the main house,) would be aglow with lights and the sounds of happy voices could be heard up to a quarter mile away. And the smell of mesquite wood/smoke pouring out of the chimney just added to the ambiance in the dusky light making the area feel like "comfort and joy" were physically tangible and could be held in your hands. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed being in the middle of the cacophony as much as the next sugar-crazed cousin (I had plenty of them,) but I also learned at an early age the peace there is in being alone and silent.
So there I would sit on the fence over by the corral, looking towards the house, watching the last rays of the setting sun glowing on the hills silhouetting HQ, while coyotes howl somewhere off in the distance. Interstate 30 was a distance away and the light drone of vehicles passing just added to the warmth of the feeling on that chilly evening. Cozy, loving, peaceful evening.
And here's the biggest detail: my great-grandfather started a tradition many years ago by building a cross that was 15 feet tall and then he hung it on the HQ water tower. It was lit with normal light bulbs that were dipped in colored paint. So every year on the day after thanksgiving, my family would hang the cross so it could be visible from the highway. When I asked why we did it, my grandfather would just grin his lop-sided way and give me some further instructions like how to pull the rope. As the years passed by, less of us were able to make it out to HQ till it finally got to the point were the hanging the cross was more effort than it seemed to be worth. Ultimately, we had to stop when the water tower got blown down by a tornado and we were unable to rebuild it.
Years later while traveling with my family just prior to Christmas, I had the opportunity to eat at a truck stop outside the west side of Fort Worth. While eating, I overheard some truckers talking about the various landmarks that they pass. One that they specifically mentioned was the giant cross at a certain mile marker along I-30. Finally I joined in on the conversation, not letting on that it was my family that did it, and they told me about all the years that their holidays were made special because of that old cross. They mentioned how it had touched them and provided more than a distraction along the empty road, but also how it had come to change and shape their views and opinions. That night, they walked away without hearing my story about countless times having to do something to get that cross to shine. Instead, I walked away with my heart filled, my spirit renewed, and a new understanding of just what my grandfather's lopsided grin had really meant.
I could go on about how I feel it's important to keep a certain rugged cross in your sights when traveling in the dark, but I think the ending of this little story would be better served with this: as we pass through this Thanksgiving holiday, we should all stop and reflect on the many lessons we have learned in life and give thanks to those that helped us learn them in safety and love. Be sure you tell them how you feel before they get away from you, possibly forever.
And with that, I bid you all a fond good-night...