~ First, everything stopped in our house during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade when Miss Kerry O’Malley appeared on screen in a medley from Broadway’s White Christmas, twirling in an impossibly swirly red gown with these wide white equatorial stripes on a vast spinning globe of skirt. Gorgeous and just so much fun, too. For me, it was the best of the Broadway show numbers. Truly lovely and nostalgic and joyful, taking me back to a time I’ve never even been yet still long for. At the end, the camera came in for a beautiful close-up of Kerry’s face and I got the distinct impression that she was in that moment and that time, too. So thank you, Kerry O’Malley and the cast of White Christmas, for those glowing heartfelt moments. They made me feel like I was completely melting into the larger spirit of the season and it was just the start I needed for my Thanksgiving day.
~ Arriving at my parents’ house, I managed to finagle a welcoming hug from The Banshee, even though she has a strict hug regimen, as previously discussed. And when I say “finagle,” I ain’t kidding. She was on the floor, playing with her aunts’ old dollhouse, so I perched on the sofa near her and said something like, “Hey! Help! I need one of those yummy Banshee hugs!” Then I had to wait for, oh, five seconds while she deliberated, Solomon-like, about the wisdom of hugging Tee Tee. Those were some long vulnerable seconds, I gotta tell you, and it occurred to me that I might not survive emotionally. Suddenly, decision made, she jumped up and crushed me in a huge hug. So hooray for yummy random hugs. And being a sycophant. To a four year old.
~ Moments later, Piper and family were arriving and The Banshee raced to the front door and stood there, chanting, all OCD, “Piper … Piper … Piper ….” She could barely contain herself, waiting in the entryway while my sister’s family rolled out of the car and unloaded Thanksgiving goodies. While she waited, she got quizzed on who else was arriving besides her idol Piper. “So Banshee, it’s Aunt ……” “Tee Tee!” she said. Oops. We corrected her. “And it’s Uncle …..” “Beloved!” she answered. Oops. Another correction. Really not fair to quiz her when she’s basically in a trance of anticipation about Piper. And when Piper entered the door, The Banshee flung herself head- first at her cousin. She’s the only person who doesn’t have to ask for a hug from The Banshee. She gets one whether she wants it or not.
~ MB had to show Elder Nephew how to use a bottle opener. Uhm, wha??? How do you not know this, dear boy?? You are 17. I guess that’s what aunts and uncles are for, though. Filling any odd educational gaps for their nephews and nieces. So, phhhew, that one’s covered.
~ I sat next to Piper at dinner and she regaled me with endless high-speed tales of I know not what. Something like, “Tee Tee! There’s this boy at my school and his name is Ben and (something insane and hilarious and incomprehensible happened to him) and he was really ASLEEP THE ENTIRE TIME!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” Really, she was SO ramped up to share these things with me and I felt bad that I couldn’t follow the thread — or threads — tumbling wildly out of her mouth, but it was cracking me up to see her in such hysterics, so I was laughing. Just not for the reasons she might have thought. But bless her for always wanting to connect with people.
~ After dinner, my sister and Sparky the puppy and I went outside for some fresh, actually chilly air. We sat on my parents’ lawn, near the waterfall. I love that waterfall. Dad only “turns it on” now for special occasions, and even though it’s man-made, it looks so natural — huge rocks jutting out from the pine trees, water rushing towards an ending pond, the sound a backing track to so many years of memories. I can’t imagine my parents’ yard without it. After all the rain we’ve had the last few days, even on Thanksgiving Eve, the grass, so greedy-thirsty from drought, was still dry and cushy, and while we talked, we took turns tossing a fallen pine cone across the lawn for Sparky to retrieve. Between pieces of more meaningful conversation, we’d stop intermittently to laugh at his flying black hair, his teensiness, his willingness to fetch a pine cone, for Pete’s sake. A while later, we were joined by Banshee’s mom, with Baby Banshee in tow in her green plaid dress. She plopped near me, a little bottom-heavy dumpling, as the wind blew my too-long Sasquatch hair into her face, tickling her, making her laugh. Dark clouds dotted the sky, a timid sun peeking behind them, slanting her light like a sideways glance. The perfect clean after-rainy-day sky. The occasional stray raindrop did smatter us here and there, but we didn’t care. It felt so good. Later, as the three of us sisters chatted and watched Baby Banshee trying not to roll down the slight slope, Banshee’s dad (brother) and Younger Nephew started a game of Bocce ball on the lawn in front of us. At one point, a stray ball rolled towards Baby Banshee. She squealed bah bah bah!! and grabbed the ball, clutching it to her bosom with a thrill, drooling over it with love. She hugged that ball tight like a baby for a long time. Chatting continued, lazy and comfortable. We watched brother and nephew’s game, I randomly refereed, and Baby Banshee waved and giggled at her daddy across the lawn, squealing again whenever a ball came near her. I just wanted to drink it all in, slow everything down, make every second last. Sometimes you just have to tear up at how beautiful things can be, you know? I want to take those moments on the grass and sear them into my brain for later, maybe soon, maybe years from now, when I know I will surely need them.