The last of our 64 family and friends who graced our tables and our lives at Thanksgiving this year just departed. I made the comment to some this morning that everyone leaves between yesterday and today and Mike and I are left with the memories and the remainder of the mess! That was a comic relief comment, made out of sadness that after several days of being together, we are once again saying goodbyes to many of our loved ones for another year. While Mike and I certainly spend many hours preparing for this annual event and more hours putting the house back to normal afterward, our entire crowd makes the event what it is. There are many cooks, dishwashers, and helpers doing a variety of chores, so none of us should get the credit for making this work. It is indeed a family affair, and “family” includes our friends who are our chosen family. It is a labor of love that warms our hearts and feeds our souls as much as our tummies. We are so blessed and thankful.
Our crowd comes from Maryland to Florida, and points in between. Every bed in our home is full, and we “take over” a couple of other homes close by. Some family stays with other family who live near us, and a few (prefer to) stay in a hotel. Our event begins when the first ones arrive on Monday of Thanksgiving week, and the last ones leave on Saturday or Sunday. During those days, we gather for two meals a day plus many appetizers. We are a family of cooks, so the food is amazing. More important than the food, however, is the love that surrounds us. We form a circle of love and pray before every meal, grateful for the ties that bind. We had our largest crowd ever this year, topping out at 64.
Professional musicians, Angie Henle and Spogga Hashway, entertained us for Dad’s Birthday celebration.
This was the thirty-fourth year of our family Thanksgiving celebration, and Mike and I have been privileged to host all but two of them. Being in Raleigh, we are a central location. Years ago, we rearranged our home to easily move tables and chairs in and out specifically for this family event. And there are turkey plates, sterling silver, and crystal that decorate our tables, which I am sure is more important to me than anyone else.
This year we ended our celebration with a birthday party honoring our eldest statesman, Dad, Will Fralix, for his 95th birthday. He is the one responsible for most of these family members. We are so blessed to still have him with us.
The photos give a sense of our time together these last few days. They are not able, however, to fully capture the love we share, the memories we cherish, or our celebration of family and loved ones.
We know we are blessed, for which we are so thankful.