Tom and I are back in Georgia, but we are still basking in the glow of a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. I think sometimes that our trips back to Ohio are times to recharge before we head back out on our adventures. Connecting with people we love helps us know who we are and where we come from.
We spent Thanksgiving day at the Sager house in North Canton. Even though I had a cold, I felt well enough to enjoy the family gathered. They, of course, joked that Dad and I should sit at the quarantine table. You know – adult table, kid’s table, quarantine table. My brother-in-law Mike had double hip replacement the week before Thanksgiving but he was doing great. We missed John and Jackie, who were in Pennsylvania. We also missed Grace, Joe, and Julia, three of my brother’s kids, but those that remained had a really good time.
The family gathered again the Saturday before Christmas. This time Joe, Grace, and Kathy were missing, but everyone else made it. We even had two newer folks. Jared and his long-time girlfriend Alexandria are now engaged. Devon also brought current girlfriend Erin. Both young women are working on graduate degrees so they are smart and articulate.
Mom and Dad ordered dinner from Der Dutchman and Tom and I picked it up on our way to their house. It wasn’t super expensive, and it was a lot easier on Mom than trying to make everything or assign dishes to everyone else. It turns out a gallon of cheesy potatoes is plenty for 15 people.
We had our usual silly gift exchange with Jared again taking the clown’s crown for the craziest gifts. He got John a book titled “How to Talk to Your Cat about Gun Safety.” He gave Erin a gift card in a glass jar. But he glued the lid shut and it took Tom and John and Tom’s tools to get it open. Jared gave Devon an Otomatone and then proceeded to play it whenever anyone was playing the piano or singing. He is definitely the family joker.
Mom and Dad always make sure everyone coming has a Christmas stocking. This year they added stockings for Erin and Alexandria and hung all of them up on the counter between the living room and kitchen. Dad and Tom put them in order – oldest, youngest, second oldest, second youngest, etc. It turns out that Jackie is in the exact middle of the family in terms of age if you arrange things like that. The same number of people older and younger than Jackie.
John furnished Fartley Farms hot sauces for a tasting. Erin and Devon were the only ones brave enough to try the hottest sauce. We played Uno and Dominoes and then had some leftovers for a light supper. After cleaning up, the last of us left. I’m sure Mom and Dad were exhausted.
We extended Christmas by celebrating at John and Jackie’s on Christmas Day and then by going to my parents on the day after Christmas. Mom and Dad were going to come to John and Jackie’s, but Dad is still coughing a lot so they stayed home. We got Mom and Dad genealogy charts so they could see the big picture. We also got Mom an iPad and she has been learning a little more about using it every day.
At John and Jackie’s we learned that a cotton towel can spontaneously combust if it is hot enough. Jackie wrapped her bread warming stone in a cotton towel and put it in the microwave. A couple of minutes later she smelled something burning. John got the towel and stone out of the microwave and Tom took it outside. When Tom started to unwrap the towel, it burst into flames! Crazy! None of us thought it would do that!
It was a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved every minute I got to spend with my warm and loving family. We don’t get to see each other enough, but we certainly enjoy each other when we do get together.