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Twist on Thanksgiving

Had an interesting Thanksgiving dinner this last week. Not that anything unusual happened, only the way it happened. My family and I drove south this year to spend the holidays with his side of the family. My husband’s sisters and parents live within miles of each other in South Florida and we thought it would be fun to go “tropical.” However, since we didn’t give a whole heck of a lot of notice on our decision (my husband can be very spur of the moment), they didn’t plan on centering their focus on us.

One sister was celebrating with friends, one sister was celebrating with her son’s girlfriend’s family, the nieces (sisters) were working and celebrating together with a fried version of the bird and his parents? Well, let’s just say they bowed out of all invitations for a quiet day at home alone together. They’re eighty-three. Big dinners take a lot of work. Hmph. Now what?

mashed sweets

How about bring the dinner with you? And while you’re at it, add a few chairs, a table–heck, we have a lot of bodies heading into their small home with no place to put them! So that’s what we did. Packed up a turkey and all the fixins’ — including all the ingredients to prepare the entire dinner and dessert — grab a table and chairs and throw them back into the Suburban. We’re going on a road trip!

Not my favorite time of year to be on the roads, mind you, but turns out, our traffic wasn’t bad. Wednesday night we didn’t hit any trouble and for the return, we only hit a couple of snafus. I think the secret is to leave late. By the time we hit the road, everyone was already well on their way home, headed back up north. So all in all, not a bad drive. And what a great dinner! I put the turkey in the oven the night we arrived and it was ready to eat come three o’clock. Easy. Whipped up a few mashed potatoes, plate of stuffing, cranberry, gravy, rolls and poof. Thanksgiving dinner! It was our version of “Meals on Wheels.” For those of you not familiar with the group, Meals on Wheels is an organization dedicated to feeding our seniors by bringing the nutrition straight to the door of those with limited mobility.

All in all it was a great weekend. Good food, good company and even a spot of fishing and tennis. Definitely counting our blessings in the Venetta household!

 

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Down the road…

I’m revisiting this post from one of my tour stops last month.  It was one of my favorites, since it brought up some great memories.

I’m not a big traveler.  I mean, I’d like to be, I’d like to be toodling around in a giant Winnebago or flying off to exotic locales like ones I read about.  But my very blue collar world doesn’t include scenarios like that.  I’ve only really been on a few big trips in my life.

A big vacation when I was in the fourth grade brought me to the Grand Canyon and all up the West Coast.  I’ve been scuba diving in Grand Cayman and Cozumel and Honduras.  I’ve been to London.  I’ve been skiing in Taos, NM.  All of those things were in my twenties.  And I went to Vegas for my honeymoon.  That about sums up my travelling portfolio.

But one trip that wasn’t a vacation, stands out in my head as life altering.

When my daughter was five, her dad and I called it quits.  We were living in Colorado at the time, a beautiful, majestic place.  Also rivaling California for expensive living.  I couldn’t afford to live there on my own, and I didn’t want to.  It was time to move back home.  To Texas.  To family.

The small town I was going back to would be very different from what I was leaving behind.  I knew that.  I knew I was making the conscious choice to raise my daughter in an entirely different lifestyle.  She would be a blue-collar Texas girl, like I was.  So my dad and my brother rented a uHaul truck and drove the 2-day stretch to come help me pack up everything I owned, and we left.

I remember looking in the rearview mirror with tears in my eyes as I watched the big rock formation in Castle Rock, Colorado disappear around a bend.

I knew I’d never be back.  I felt the loss as I drove through mountain passes and little picturesque towns.  I looked at my daughter, coloring in a Barbie coloring book, who really wasn’t old enough to register what she was leaving behind, and both celebrated that fact and regretted it.

I got to spend precious moments with my dad, that I didn’t really realize was precious at the time.  We stopped and ate at little mom and pop diners along the way, and stayed at the tiniest roach motel I’ve ever seen…lol…  I remember pulling up finally, at the end of the second day, into my mother’s driveway.  Thinking:  “I’m finally home” and “Oh my God, what have I done” at the very same time.  I had no house, no job, no security for my daughter other than a support system of family.  I got us there two weeks before Kindergarten started, so she’d start in one place and not have to move in the middle.

One month later, I found a rent house and a job in the very same day.  And five years later my dad died…with my mom to follow eight months after that.  My choice gave my daughter a chance to know them, hang out with them almost daily.  She has deep rooted memories that I wish could have lasted longer but at least they are there.  She’s 17 now, and remembers certain activities with them vividly.

I still miss Colorado sometimes, but I’ve been here for twelve years now, have remarried into a wonderful family and have fully reinstated my Texas drawl and attitude.  It’s home again.

Do you have a trip that changed your life in some way?  Share!

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