It is that time of year again. The time of year when we should make an extra effort to count our blessings.
It should be practiced every day, because without it, life can feel quite dark.
The gratitude we offer on Thanksgiving, that is.
The first picture in our series above was taken on Thanksgiving Day 2016. The last one in the series was taken this weekend in Camp Gail, the sacred space in Gail’s house where we hang out when we visit. They have all been taken in Camp Gail on Thanksgiving weekend, and for obvious reasons, we didn’t gather in 2020.
This is the non-negotiable (except in Covid times) time that we gather as a family at Gail’s house. It is expected that we will all be there with as many of our family members as possible.
This was her grandson Myles’ first Thanksgiving feast
It is a joint effort; each of us brings our specialty, as well as whatever else we would like to contribute. As you may have noticed, my specialty is sweet potatoes. Gail, Suzanne and I re-create Mom’s delicious dressing, and it tastes almost as good as hers.
Suzanne and I arrive on Friday to help with the preparation, and to soak up the mirth at Gail’s house. It’s always there.
This takes place on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. On Friday evening, before the cooking begins on Saturday, Suzanne and I–and our spouses–arrive to help Gail celebrate one of the joys of small-town life in the form of their Christmas parade.
Perhaps you remember Lola from former posts. She is the 1974 Chevrolet Nova Gail bought for herself on the occasion of her 60th birthday, almost 3 years ago. Whenever Gail takes Lola out, she is always a faithful ride, turning heads, just like a showgirl would.
This year, she knew it was time to get Lola into the parade action.
In the unforgettable Barry Manilow song, Lola was a showgirl. This Lola is a show car, and Gail proved that in a big way in her small town’s Christmas parade Friday night, right down to the yellow feathers in her hair (on her roof). She had a specially mixed blend of holiday songs to blast from the speaker hanging out side the door. In that blend, however, were snippets of the classics that were perfect for this occasion, just for this car: “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl…” and the 1970 hit by the Kinks, “Lola, L-O-L-A, Lola.”
Gail’s former donut shop was in the Oddfellows–IOOF–building across the street. Lola was named after her former owner, and Gail extended an invitation to her son, John, to join her in the parade. He was thrilled to be a part of it all.
Gail’s daughter Lydia helped to toss out candy. Her grandson, Myles, and her step-granddaughter, Macy, helped, too.
There were other entrants in the parade, too, of course, but none quite like Lola–in my opinion.
The Grinch-mobile was second only to Lola, in my opinion.
We arrived home this afternoon, with another weekend of Thanksgiving memories–and full stomachs– under our belts. Gail never fails to entertain and uplift, but more than that, she inspires every day of the year by living her life to the fullest every day of the year, not just on the holidays. She knows how to make any situation fun, and cares not one iota what anyone else thinks. She knows life is a ride, whether or not she is riding in Lola.
I wish everyone had someone like Gail in their family to remind them to keep life light, to have fun in any and every way possible and to offer gratitude even for the smallest things. I am so fortunate, and I give thanks every day.
Happy Thanksgiving every day of the year.
I AM SO THANKFUL FOR MY SISTERS.