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Granny’s dressing sits on the kitchen counter ready to pop into the oven while a double batch of her egg noodles sit tight in the freezer.

With such a busy week, I give thanks they are ready to cook, even THOUGH it took til yesterday afternoon to come together.  With only a corn casserole still to mix, I’ll soon be traveling east, carrying my trinity of gifts for today’s Thanksgiving table.

My sister Christi is hosting at her renovated farmhouse — the one that sits on Granny and Granddad’s homestead.   I asked if she’d like to a few months back — I wasn’t surprise she said yes.  Christi is so darn proud of her home.  And it gives her joy to share it with others.  And isn’t this how it should always and everywhere be? Not just with our gifts — like with our particular knack for making certain foods just right — but with our homes and most of all ourselves?

As I gather with a litany of family:  my husband and two of my children — Kyle and Kate — Kate’s husband, my grandchildren, sister, sister-in-law, nieces and aunt and uncle, I think of other Thanksgiving tables and the faces gathered there.  My daughter Kara will sit at a table filled with in-laws while son Bryan is celebrating for the first-time with future in-laws at a borrowed table in Eureka Springs.  And what do you know, but that this year my amazing brother Jon is in Dallas, dining with a new girlfriend and her family.

Then I think of family further afield — like Aunt Carol, hosting her children and many grandchildren at her Utah home.  And my new found second cousins even further east:  in Vermont — John, George and Olga — in New York  — Judy, Rainey and Helen — and in Florida — Butch.

I pray blessings on all these many tables.  But especially those trying to fill the gap of lost love and Thanksgiving table gifts.  As I write, my love embraces Aunt Jo’s family, who somewhere a little further east of Sis’s house, will be gathering for the first time without Aunt Jo and her lovely pecan and pumpkin pies and her own particular version of Granny’s dressing and noodles.

And how can I not think of family even further afield, the love I no longer see but in some mysterious way, carry alive within me? Mom, Dad, Papa, Uncle Sonny, Aunt Jo, Granny and Granddad — even now, I sense all is well with you — and until I gather with you, I’ll do my best to carry your love forward.

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