I seem to have passed down my high-strung tendencies to at least one of my boys. My teenager, Austin, is all about the production and the overall grand scheme of things. As long as the big picture is fine he isn’t concerned with the details. But, my 11-year-old, Jamison, is a boy after my own heart. Everything in his room has its proper place. Legos are displayed on his shelves just so, John Erickson’s “Hank the Cowdog” books are organized numerically, and his tools always go back to their proper drawers in his tool chest.
My dearest friend is a loveable Yankee. Anita, (who I refer to and consider my sister) was born and bred in Chicago. She lives in Lake Villa, with her husband, Joe, and her 2 boys, Adam and Charlie. After living in Lake Villa for nearly 10 years she can now admit that she lives in the suburbs of Chicago. Suburbia has taken ahold of her, but I can proudly report that she doesn’t drive minivan just yet and still proudly wears her highest heels.
Each year we try to take trips to visit each other. It is usually just one of us flying back and forth for a quick visit, but we relish any time we can get together. We have been friends for nearly 25 years, and whenever we get together we pick up right where we left off. We run the gamut from our younger giggling teenage selves, to newlyweds, and then smack into the throes of motherhood. We have been through it all together. Jamison asked how it was possible that we could remember something that far back. Austin, being ever so clever, responds, “She is just programmed that way. Moms never forget anything. Remember that, Jamison. It will serve you well in the future.” My boys stare at me as they hear the giggles that accompany our phones conversations. As I hang up the receiver they make little witch-like laughing noises in their odd attempt to imitate my laughs.
All 4 of our children have never met each other and we consider this an immense travesty, and one that Anita sat out to rectify. The summer heat is a little too intense for some “Northerners” so when we started planning a family get together, fall seemed the right time. Somehow it all came about that her family will be joining us for Thanksgiving. The fact that it is deer season also had a certain appeal to her outdoor appreciating husband. Nearly 3 years ago Anita’s cousin, her husband, and her 2 children saw the light and became honorary Texans. They moved to Houston. So it would only be right and quiet Southern of me to extend an invitation for everyone to attend Thanksgiving on the ranch. Our quiet, little family Thanksgiving will be turned on its ear, and we are all so thrilled for the change of pace.
The boys immediately got excited as they plan to sit in the deer blinds with all the boys showing them how to pass the boredom by squishing the Daddy Long Legs spiders. “If you press the body between your fingers they kind of ‘pop,’” said Jamison with absolutely no signs of arachnophobia. Plans were hatched to introduce their “cousins” to our Brahman Divas, the horses, the joys of wide open spaces, the possibly hot Thanksgiving weather, and how boots are actually the most perfect footwear and go with everything especially shorts. Jamison and Austin did express some concern that the Yankees might alter their Texan “y’alls” to the popular Yankee “you guys.” But the boys are adamant that they can resist that and will fight hard to keep their Texas accents intact.
As you can imagine I have already started planning Thanksgiving, and yes, I realize that it is only May. Various menus have been planned and printed, table arrangements discussed, and a “Countdown to Thanksgiving” timeline has already been streamlined and hangs proudly on my refrigerator. Then the house sprucing up commences. Austin and Jamison had a strength competition dragging some chairs into Carmona’s, where Jesse Carmona is the most patient upholsterer on Earth. Popsy has jumped in and is teaching the boys and me the proper way to refinish our “new” dining room table. John doesn’t even comment anymore, he lovingly accepts the whirlwind that he sees constantly spinning around the house. However, the boys haven’t learned just yet.
“Mom, this is all a little early – even for you,” Austin sighs and rolls his eyes.
“Yes, yes, it might be,” I contemplate, “but grab the silver service set, here’s the polish, and we can discuss all of this while you are polishing.”
The wise beyond his years, Jamison, takes in the scene. “You see Austin, you shouldn’t have said anything. If you stop her and ask questions she will always find something for you to do. Look at Dad’s approach. Don’t acknowledge the craziness. She lives for this stuff.”