First my folks came to visit us before Thanksgiving. Then on the way to Mama A's family for Thanksgiving, we stopped by my Auntie M's house to visit with her and her family; we haven't seen them for years and it was a pleasure. Beatrice was pretty fussy from the first leg of our trip (because I couldn't wait to pee and Beatrice woke from her travel nap – got me in trouble both ways).
Then we had to go over the High Sierras during the last leg of the trip which was very difficult for Bea and Mama. There's really not a lot for a daddy to do when baby and mama are screaming and crying. Oy vey.
We survived thankfully. Amy's family cooked up a T-day storm and I must've gained 80 pounds in two days. Ugh. Bea held up okay until the night after Thanksgiving when there was a projectile vomiting incident; too many foods in Mama's milk. More screaming and crying.
We experienced a Yahtzee revival, though! My sister and I used to play it all the time with my grandparents and it was so much fun playing it again. So much fun in fact that I downloaded the app to my iPhone. Sweet.
The trip home was much easier and after we unpacked we dove into a final batch of Thanksgiving leftovers. Yum city.
I'm thankful for leftovers. I've always been thankful for leftovers. And unless it was something I really didn't like the first time, which wasn't much, I always ate most of the leftovers.
Since I was a child, leftovers meant abundance; we never went hungry and my sister and I never thought of ourselves as poor.
But we were.
Not destitute like many who suffered in the Great Depression, like those interviewed by Studs Terkel in his special collection of stories from his Hard Times radio series (I recently listened to some of them on This American Life). Not poverty-stricken like many from third world countries of yesteryear and today. Not completely broke like the thousands of families who have lost their jobs and homes this year.
But we were poor – and we always had leftovers. My mother knew how to stretch a dollar, even when my alcoholic deadbeat dad didn't and the relentless recession stagflation of the 70s made it even tougher. She knew how to create culinary delights whether it was holiday faire, or probably one of my favorite childhood meals of all time: ground beef gravy over mashed potatoes with whole kernel corn on the side and bread and butter. And a glass of cold milk to wash it all down.
We never went hungry and we never went without Christmas gifts. Every Christmas Mom busted her butt to get as many of the gifts on our list as possible.
So whether you donate a little food to Feeding America (Second Harvest Food Bank) like we do, or volunteer to help feed the homeless, or donate toys to Toys for Tots (which we pledge to do this year) or the Make-A-Wish Foundation, give a little bit this year to others.
Don't be a deadbeat dad, daddies, even when we're all belt tightening. Be good to your families and to those less fortunate. Every little bit helps.
God bless us all and Merry Christmas. Now, if I can get Mama A to fix me the ground beef gravy and mashed potato delight…