Last year, as I was busily planning our Annual Thanksgiving Brunch, my Mother- in-Law came to our house to talk about Thanksgiving. I should tell you that she would be the first person to say that she doesn't care to cook. I think that she can't honestly believe that anyone else would actually enjoy cooking, especially a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Her idea was this: She was going to take us all to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving dinner.
If my own Mother had been in the room, she would have told me to close my mouth before flies flew in it. I was absolutely at a loss for words, and that doesn't happen to me very often. Thanksgiving dinner at Cracker Barrel? I hope I was kind as I told her I would have to turn that gracious offer down. I explained that we had been having brunch for several years. It works for us. My step-daughters don't have to choose between our house or their mother's house for a big meal...and they don't have to pretend to eat two meals. My daughter and her family are free to have Thanksgiving dinner with her in-laws, if they wish. We have friends who enjoy coming over for brunch and fellowship before going to their respective feasts.
Quite frankly, Edmund and I have come to enjoy the thought that everyone can come and go as they please, and hopefully all of them will be gone by early afternoon and we can enjoy a quiet afternoon and evening together. Sometimes, it has actually worked out that way.
Anyway, as I thought of the offer of Cracker Barrel, I tried to explain that I really do love to cook, and quite frankly...it is something I do well. I like to think of the wonderful treats I make for our Annual Brunch as a gift I give to our friends and family. I'm quite attached to the whole idea, and don't miss the turkey and dressing much.
After we got the whole thing settled, and she agreed to come to our brunch, I pondered the whole thing for quite some time. I kept coming back to the same question over and over. In what circumstance would I find myself that would make it okay for me to feel good about going to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving Dinner? I suppose if I was too ill to cook it myself, and something was terribly wrong with my daughter so that she couldn't fix it and my mother was unable to come and I couldn't manage to score an invitation to eat with friends...I might think it was okay to go to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving Dinner.
Fast forward to this Thanksgiving. Edmund was to be in Cocoa Beach for the week proceeding and week of Thanksgiving on business. He would be free to come home the day before Thanksgiving. You know...the busiest travel day of the year! As we contemplated the holiday, the gears in my brain started turning.
We both were in need of some time away to relax. He was already going to be at the beach. I looked into a short cruise from Port Canaveral, but we had to nix that because my passport is expired. We briefly talked about a trip to Vegas, but that would involve even further travel for him, and he hates to travel. We finally settled on what seemed to be a wonderful plan.
I would fly to Cocoa Beach the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving. We would have the weekend together, and I could rest and relax at the beach while he worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, we would take a picnic to the beach and celebrate a very non-traditional Thanksgiving with turkey sandwiches.
Oh! I giggled as I told everyone what a lovely escape we had planned. I was giddy at the thought of the day. I could envision a delightful day.
Guess what? It didn't quite happen like we'd planned it. Ed's Uncle Jerry died after a long illness on the Friday in Macon, Georgia. We found out on Sunday that his graveside service was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
Monday turned out to be quite a day. Changing travel plans the week of Thanksgiving can be quite an adventure. Especially since Edmund's travel had been booked through the travel agent his company uses and I had booked my flight using his frequent flyer miles. If there was a possibility to get us to Macon in time for the service that we didn't consider, I would like to know it!
We ended up flying to Atlanta on Tuesday, renting a car and driving to Macon. We kept our return to Huntsville open, not knowing what the situation there would be and if Ed's Aunt would need us to help with details, etc.
We did spent the day Wednesday with his Aunt and Cousin. We decided to drive home on Thursday.
You see where this is going? We checked out of our hotel in Macon at about 10 am, and by the time we were nearing Atlanta, we were getting mighty hungry. Guess what? There aren't a lot of places to eat open on Thanksgiving. But Cracker Barrel is open. They serve a lovely Thanksgiving Dinner!
I found out what circumstance would make it okay for me to eat Thanksgiving Dinner at Cracker Barrel. A death in the family. Travel. Hunger. I had to laugh as we took our seats. I looked over the menu. I really do love to eat at Cracker Barrel. We decided to go ahead and have their Thanksgiving meal. The whole deal--turkey, ham, dressing, green beans,cranberry sauce, biscuits and pumpkin pie. All for $8.99 a plate. Our waitress was as cute as a button and very kind. Edmund doesn't care for pumpkin pie, and she offered to tell them he was allergic to it and got him a nice slice of pecan pie.
We had such a nice time eating at the Cracker Barrel. I think we'd have had a nice time eating most anywhere. thanksgiving isn't about your location or the food. It isn't even really about with whom you celebrate, although being with someone you love is certainly a blessing. Thanksgiving is about what is in your heart. And mine was most certainly full of gratitude for our blessings, which have been in abundance this year. I hope yours was, too!