My grandma knocked on the door, her hair was half curled. The other half was remarkably messy, especially for her. She quickly hugged me then called for my mom inside. I ran out the door to the car to help carry the pies inside. When I found my grandpa hunkered over the trunk he handed me a pie for each hand, there were more still in the trunk. My grandma was famous, in our family at least, for her pie. These didn’t look right, similar to her hair they were only done on one side and now after the car ride they were also lopsided.
I walked inside carefully with my hands full of pie and found an open place on the counter. Soon the lights flickered and everyone held their breath. It was about two hours before dinner would be served, our house was practically the only one in all of the Seattle area still with power. The winds were fierce and the huge maple leaves went swirling past our windows again and again. Then the lights flickered again and just like that we were all standing in the natural dim light of a blustery Thanksgiving Day.
Before I knew what happened there were candles lit in the kitchen, the adults were in deep discussion about what was already cooked, what needed to still finish cooking and there was a recount for the number of guests coming to dinner. They were all feeling very grateful for deciding to BBQ the turkey, the first time they tried it (I should note this was more than thirty years ago and my parents have cooked their turkey on the BBQ ever since). I don’t remember if it was my sister or myself who reminded my parents it felt like we were camping. This thought sparked an idea that there was a stove in the camper trailer that might work to finish cooking the remaining dishes.
My Dad quickly loaded up, umbrella in one hand and stuffing and a pie in the other, and walked down the path in our yard toward our camper trailer. The remaining dishes, including the gravy were finished over the camp stove. To keep my sister and I busy we were asked to make a centerpiece. It was lighter outside than inside so we collected leaves of every color and brought them inside. We dried them off, found some extra large candles and helped set the table.
The last of the guests arrived, the last of the food was done, the turkey smelled wonderful. We sat down, all 12 or so of us crammed around the dinning room table where there was the best light to eat by. And just as the last of us said what we were thankful for the lights flickered and then stayed on.
I don’t know about anyone else at the table that year but I was disappointed the lights turned on. There was something extra special about sitting around a table of fresh cooked food by candle light with my family. Each of us added something to the feast and we were all so grateful to eat warm food together. In every way, this is my favorite Thanksgiving and I know it always will be.