A Thanksgiving Story

There comes a day I must be brave hearted, enter the dark, primeval bowels of my husband’s Man Cave. I admit, pitching his threadbare jackets matted with cat hair never fails to fire up my adrenaline. It’s a gift inherited from my granny and mother.
                  The task began with a furnace cleaning November 3rd. Mind, the same expert warned us three years ago that our geriatric Carrier was dangerous. So, we decided to replace it with a trim, energy efficient Amana for the safety of our household belongings and inhabitants, especially Mo, our necessary mouser.
                  Thus began our first purge and argument while transferring hand-me-down furniture and luggage from under the basement stairs to Salvation Army.
My premise: our house is too small to harbor all our parents’ orphans. They must find someone else’s man cave. My husband’s premise: what if we need them someday?
Following his trip to Salvation Army, our Michigan daughter invited her dad to her home to watch football. (We didn’t have a working television since digital took control, and I didn’t miss it a minute.)  She said I was welcome to tag along for her delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Snug before her TV, our sympathetic offspring asked, “Why don’t you and Dad host Thanksgiving this year for the Underwoods?”
I knew what she meant. Now that Gramma Rosie was gone, Thanksgiving was up for grabs. “I’ve been thinking about that,” I replied.
My husband nodded, eyes on Michigan’s quarterback. The shift from Thanksgiving in Grand Rapids to our house in Addison Township clicked into place that instant.
The two technicians didn’t have to deal with our junk when they installed our new furnace and hot water heater. Then came the perfect, first snowfall of the season. All day Saturday as we vacuumed dust, cobwebs and cat hair from rafters, floor and furniture, snowflakes fell in windless atmosphere outdoors.
I observed Nature’s serene handiwork as she built snow cakes on patio tables and fluffy cushions on my swing under the maple tree. The hankering to bundle up, slide open the door-wall and play in this purity tempted me. But we had company coming. My heart’s desire.
Dear reader, you know holiday celebrations bear a more powerful pull after we’ve lost loved ones. Letting go is painful, a constant process. We long to gather with family for comfort and familiarity to fill the emptiness around our table.
On the other hand, we also know devoted Lions fans must have their football on Thanksgiving Day. So, our sensitive daughter drove north to our house and installed a smart television in her dad’s clean and organized Man Cave.
After the Lions won, the Underwood clan expanded with fianc├ęs, gathered around my mother’s white tablecloth for the blessing. We passed Desert Rose serving bowls and platters my mother-in-law gifted me for many Christmases. 
                  We spoke our thankfulness for family and work, remembered those who have gone before us, all richer with experience of letting go, and holding on.