Friday, November 29, 2002

Last night was great. The cheeseball was a moderate hit. Our group of sixteen had skimmed down to thirteen, as my sister's friend didn't show up, Kristen caught the flu and Uncle Bobby decided to stay home and take care of her.
My greataunt Da made a mean Tom Collins (more gin than actual Collins) and I had two glasses of wine. Combine that with the cheese, I could only muster up enough stomach room for two plates. My Betta Half's cranberry sauce was really good. The turkey was perfect, despite a near mishap in which the basting pan failed and dripped turkey juice into the bottom of the stove and onto Nanny's floor. The big to-do was the pumpkin pie. For a couple of years now, the pumpkin pie was missing at our holiday because the rumor was started that no one liked it. Not true. I LOVE pumpkin pie. Unfortunately if you don't sing a food's praises 365 days a year, my fam tends to forget. So this year I whined in the way that only the oldest grandchild can successfully whine, and my aunt Tricia, my Godmother for good reason, made a pumpkin pie. I got free run on it, since no one else but Da touched it, and got two huge pieces. My family was amazed. "She really does like pumpkin pie," Da exclaimed.
(I guess, after that story, I should explain how Da got her name. A lot of people when first introduced to our fam, mistakenly refer to her as "Di," as in Princess. It's Da. As in the sound that baby Tricia made when she saw her. The name stuck.)

After the Dallas Cowboy game, which my mother and father watched gleefully as Dallas laid the smack down on Washington, my Grandfather grabbed his big remote control and began flipping channels. My Papa is a treasure. He's been through a lot, having lost two brothers in their thirties to heart attacks and a battle with booze. He's been sober long before I was born, and his addiction now is sports. Papa is a walking encyclopedia on sports. So for a Christmas present a few years back, my mom and her sibs and their spouses chipped in and got him a satellite dish, complete with The Sports Package, with about eighty gazillion sports channels broadcasting games at all hours of the day and night. But tonight, he stopped at a movie. "You ever seen this movie?" he asked me and the Better Half. "This is a Harrison Ford movie called, uh, Witness. Man, that Harrison Ford is a good, good actor." Turns out my Papa is also a fan of Kevin Costner and Tom Cruise.

Papa leads the prayer each fam function. We do the standard Catholic blessing (Bless us, O Lord, for these Thy gifts...) but Papa usually improvises at the end. The improv is usually the same theme, but we always love hearing it:
"And Lord, I just want to thank You for health and my wonderful family. People often ask me how I get my family to go to church or to come and visit. I have no answer, but I know there is a lot of love here. Yesterday there were six people here, raking leaves, setting the tables, moving furniture, so that they could come and sit together tonight. And that is just wonderful."

I couldn't agree more.

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