A Clue for Adrianna (Captain’s Point Stories) The first novel in the Captain’s Point series. A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.
A Man for Susan (Captain’s Point Stories) The second novel in the Captain’s Point series. A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.
Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) a full-length, cozy mystery by Annie Acorn.
The year was 1994, and Thanksgiving was fast approaching – the first one since my husband’s death the previous January. In June, Son #1 had bought his first house and moved out. In September, Son #2 had left for college in Auburn.
Both of the boys would, of course, rejoin me for turkey and dressing, but the chair at the other end of the table from mine would remain empty, I thought, as another small piece of my still fragile heart chipped away. What in the world could I do to lighten this burden?
And then, it hit me. Two of Son #2’s suite mates at Auburn came from places far enough away that they might not be able to return home for only a few days. This being the pre-cell phone era, I phoned my son’s dorm room and left a message.
Later that evening, I received a callback. One of the suite mates was a definite. The other one hadn’t been seen to ask yet. Oh, and could he ask two more boys who lived in the room across the hall?
Taking a quick inventory of the sleeping potential of our home, I agreed. The sad atmosphere that had surrounded me in the house for too many months stating it loud and clear – this was a time when the more the merrier would ring true.
Three trips to the grocery store, four pies, two cakes, several dozen cookies and a case of salty snacks later, I believed that I had amassed enough provisions to see six healthy young males and myself through one day. Patrick, the black dachshund/cocker spaniel mix with whom I daily played me and my shadow, merely shook his head sadly at my naiveté.
Late Wednesday evening, the first contingent arrived – Son #1 would come first thing in the morning and the other suite mate had yet to be located.
“I’m worried about Spud,” Son #2 said.
“Has there been any sign of him?” I asked, thinking that we might need to notify his parents that he was missing.
“Sure.” My son began popping corn. “He’s created two new piles of dirty laundry just since Monday.”
“Well, in that case…” I pasted on a reasonably bright smile. “Why don’t you try calling his room early in the morning? With everyone else gone, you might catch him sleeping in.”
“Good idea.” A second round of popcorn replaced the first, which now displaced about ten percent of the open space in an oversized metal bowl that my son was obviously bent on filling.
Now, don’t ask me why, but every Thanksgiving of my life, I’ve risen from my bed early, looking forward to preparing completely from scratch dressing and stuffing it into the turkey. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Son #2 already up, showered, and on the phone – evidence of a large breakfast having been consumed spread before him on the table.
“Take your time,” he was saying. “We won’t eat until around one.”
“Spud?” I asked once he’d hung up.
“You got it.” He began loading the dishwasher with what appeared to be the remnants of sixteen or seventeen full dinners.
The next several hours passed in a blur as I molded well into the role of short order cook, while at the same time managing to prepare the bird of the day. Macy’s Parade passed across the TV screen in the family room, and announcers filled the room with tidbits about upcoming bowl games to a moment or two of hushed silence. The house filled with mixed aromas as I prepared a cinnamon-laced raisin cake and basted the turkey.
Finally, the kitchen filled with young men eager for a first glimpse. I opened the oven door and stepped aside, as Son #2 lifted the turkey and its pan from the oven and placed the whole on a counter.
Then the doorbell rang.
“Spud…” The name was spoken reverently aloud around the room as Son #2 hurried to welcome his friend.
Carefully, Son #1 transferred the perfectly cooked bird onto a waiting meat platter, and I moved forward to enhance its presentation with a bit of garnish. Suddenly, I felt a whoosh of movement behind me and then a pair of strong arms encircled my knees.
“Will you marry me?” Spud’s youthful tenor sang forth his plea. “That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”
Needless to say, the boy was asked back every year until he graduated as I continued to fill the void left in our house by the loss of my husband with youthful energy, forward thinking and optimism.
Did Son #2’s college friends benefit from the experience? Sure, but so did my sons and me as, especially that first Thanksgiving after our loss, it was brought home to us clearly that while things would never be quite the same, there was still much for which we could be thankful.
So, as you and your family prepare for your Thanksgiving together, look around you for those who may find themselves quite alone, or if you’re the one alone, find some other, similar folks and you all get together. Thanksgiving is one holiday that always tastes best when it’s shared!
A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn
Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
NOTE: Author is NOT responsible for anything the main character says!
Annie Acorn’s 2013 Christmas Treasury (Annie Acorn’s Christmas Anthologies) edited and stories by Annie Acorn