Posted on 11/28/2008
In this modern world, having a family gather in one place for a major holiday is very difficult. The winds of modern progress carry sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, to widely varied destinations, sometimes thousands of miles divergent.
During my childhood in Gackle, of course, virtually our entire extended family was able to share the feast, and, among other things, it was a celebration of blood as well as faith.
As the first paragraph indicates, this is not so true anymore, at least when it comes to geographical proximity. At a deeper level, however, a family does come together—in spirit, at least.
Yesterday, Kelly and I drove to Indiana, and had Thanksgiving dinner at the home of our daughter, Ruth. It’s always a bittersweet transition when a daughter takes over the hosting duties from a mother. My friend Sue Herrin told me her home is now the source of her family’s holiday gathering. Her mother, Mary Lou, who has been the hostess for decades, is still the matriarch and her considerable cooking talents rule in Sue’s kitchen. But, as Sue says, “it’s a strange change from the way things used to be.”
The same is true, I guess, in the Sutton family. Ruth does a great job and Kelly and I enjoy being there so much. We feel like it’s our home too, thanks to Ruth’s warm hospitality. I have so many compliments for her, and this is one.
And, thanks to the blessings of email and phone, our entire family is together on Thanksgiving—in a real, though not physical, way. We communicated with Paula, Sarah, Chris, and Peter, and our grandchildren. Paula emailed us many pictures of her Thanksgiving.
So I guess a child today can still have a sense of belonging to a family. It may not be what I got used to while growing up, but it’s still real, and if it is based on spiritual presence rather than physical, well that’s not so bad, is it?
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By the way, while I was at Ruth’s I stole the turkey carcass. Now that I’m back home, I plan on using it to make vegetable soup, some of which I’ll give back to Ruth and her husband Dave. Maybe “stole” is too strong a word. I’m sure she thinks of it as an investment. Safer than the markets these days.