Saturday, November 29, 2008

...That Couldn't be Beat

We went to Bethesda, Maryland, for a Thanksgiving Dinner with my family. We alternate where we eat turkey each year, but always manage to spend time with my clan and with Karen's.

My folks hosted all seven of their kids, their seven sons- and daughters-in-law, fifteen of their seventeen grand-kids, and my brother Matt's in-laws. That's thirty-three people, including my Mom and Dad.

Everyone brings something. We had two turkeys, white potatoes mashed and sweet potatoes too. There were two kinds of stuffing. There were veggies and gravies and many, many desserts.

We had a tub of sodas and a tub of beer. I took responsibility for bringing the beer; I started with a mixed case of Dogfish Head beers and added another mixed case of other non-mainstream beers.

We arrived early and had a chance to admire the old family dining room (seen here backwards) before it filled with people. There were several different tables set up, from the long dining table of my childhood, to the round gate-leg table in the sun-room.

Soon the family started to filter in. My nieces and nephews range in age from their mid-thirties down to first grade. We have golden-haired little princesses and cow-licked rambunctious boys. We have dancers and swimmers and ball-players. We have aspiring writers, musicians, actors, and activists.

Among my siblings and their spouses are lawyers, librarians, and managers; teachers, writers, artists, accountants and librarians. We are all readers and talkers. It is never quiet when the Mahaffies gather.

We ate. We talked. We laughed and we shared. Eventually, we started to disperse. As we did, teams of kids gathered and stowed the folding chairs. We paired-up to move tables back into place. A brother started a first-load in the dish-washer. By bed-time the old family home was put back together and tolerably clean.

As the only out-of-state guests, we spent the night at Mom and Dad's. After a pleasantly quiet breakfast, we drove to Karen's sister's house where we ate left-overs with her parents and some of that side of our family. We watched our great-nephew and his half-brother play video games and wrestle good-naturedly. We got to play scrabble with my Mother-in-Law; she is the Michael Jordan of scrabble.

As dusk fell, we were headed back east across the Bay Bridge. Back to our cats. It was a fine Thanksgiving holiday.

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