Howdy Pilgrims……

When most people think of holiday get togethers they think of going to Grandma's to a nice dinner at a fancy decorated table. At least that is what I thought of –as a child that is. Now I'm a middle aged Daddy with kids of his own and a few Thanksgiving get togethers under his belt and I can honestly tell you the only thing true about the preceding statement is that Grandma is there.

A long, long time ago I met this beautiful girl. I married this beautiful girl after some years of going steady as I called it back then. Even before we married we were already in the swing of holidays with the family. Sometimes her side, sometimes my side and sometimes allllllll together. When we began the holiday get togethers we already had a leg up on most families. Our collective immediate families totaled an impressive 23 people.

Flash forward 25 years. No more small family get togethers for us. This Thanksgiving, as we do every year, we traveled to New Jersey to get together with the family. Since we only got together with my wife's side of the family there was just a scant 56 of us. That's right, 56. That does not include friends, strangers or miscellaneous guests mind you, just family. We are fortunate in the fact that a few members of the family are volunteer fire fighters which gives us the benefit of being able to secure for the evening the local fire house meeting hall and kitchen for our little gathering.

I have always enjoyed getting together with the family for these holiday occasions. Aside from seeing all of the aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, Omas and Opas, there is tons of food. Since there are so many of us the food gets divied up between the various sects of the family. My niece is pretty good at coordinating whom is to bring what although the rest of the family seems to have issues with bringing just what they were supposed to bring. This leads to too many pies, too many turkeys, too many drinks, and ultimately too many leftovers. Some say that the leftovers are a huge part of Thanksgiving, no pun intended.

This year the HB family was tasked with bringing the salad, salad dressings, and fancy plastic dinnerware. Sabert makes a pretty nice line of plastic ware called First Impressions that is not tremendously expensive but makes a nice presentation. Daddy HB also was volunteered by his beautiful wife to bake as many pies as the family wanted. Luckily it appears that the entire family missed that little comment on the facebook thread because no one called to place their order. Even still I made three apple pies and at the request of Sticky Buns I made one extremely delicious, if I must say so myself, cherry pie. We cheated a little and bought two pumpkin pies because Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie.

All in all the day was a success although there were a few people that were not there that were sorely missed. I missed my entire family, especially my Mudder, as I call her and my sisters. I missed my nephew whom I wish would have been there but was not able to attend. But I am Thankful for all that were there, I am Thankful that I have such a wonderful wife, I am thankful that I have four extremely bright, funny, and terrific in every way children, and I am Thankful for the extended family that God has blessed me with even if they can't calculate how much food to bring.

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