My home was built in 1909 by my great-grandmother. Her children were grown and moved out, but she built it big enough for them to come back and gather there. My father knew it as his grandmother’s house. I knew it as my great-aunt’s house. It remained the gathering place on holidays even when folks were coming from Texas and New York.
When my wife and I came back to Kennett in 1979, we moved into the family home-place and we felt really good about becoming the stewards of the gathering place. As the older generations passed on, my siblings moved back and started their families here. Our home remained the holiday gathering place for a long time, simply because the other folks had tiny dining rooms. As their homes expanded with the size of their families, the gathering began to rotate, and it has been several years since we hosted a holiday dinner.
My daughter is away from family on the holiday for the first time in her 23 years, and we miss her. It reminds me of the only Thanksgiving I spent away from family. I was cleaning stables at the Equine Center, trying to get a good reference when I applied to Veterinary School. The other part-time student and I drew lots for the holidays. He would be working Christmas, and I would be shoveling on Thanksgiving. My supervisor invited me to eat dinner with his family, which was nice, but it wasn’t the same as being with my own family.
Today the gathering returned to our home. I find that, of all my blessings, I find myself most thankful for the times we spend together as family.