A Place To Gather For Thanksgiving
When my grandfather bought the house, everybody, including my grandmother, thought he’d lost his senses. Sure it was cheap enough, but that was because of the bad fire that had damaged it so much. But even at such a low price, why would anyone buy a severely burnt out house with the far fetched idea of making repairs and then move into it? Didn't he realize that the stench of burnt wood would linger on for many years and maybe never completely go away?
Furthermore, my grandfather was a not a trained carpenter, so he would have to depend others to do most of the “repairs” to that house. He did, however, have an interest in carpentry, and would often stop when he saw carpenters working on a house. He would engage them in a friendly conversation about their work, and gladly help them by handing them their tools when requested to do so. Most of those men were glad to talk about how and why they did their work, and appreciated both his interest and his assistance.
He hired carpenters to work on that burnt out house, and helped them out whenever and as much as he could. They had to gut much of what was left, and then replace and redesign the house. It took quite a while, but when the project was complete, it had been transformed into a very fine house.
Two important features of the renewed house were a good sized dining room and a very substantial living room. Those two rooms made it an ideal place for his two adult daughters and their own families to join them for the holidays.
My Mom was one of his daughters, so she and my Dad and my two sisters and I got to enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas at Grand and Nana’s house. My aunt was his other daughter, and she and my uncle and their 6 kids were the others who helped fill up that house on the holidays.
The only draw back of that home was it was in a town that made for a longer drive for my grandmother to come visit us grandkids during the rest of the year, especially after years went by and she was getting older. My grandfather dearly loved her, so in time he found another house for sale that was in a town much closer to the grandchildren. And, wouldn’t you know it, that house also was available at a great price because it, too, had been damaged by a fire. This time nobody in the family questioned his judgment in doing so since they knew he would see to it that when he was finished with the needed repairs, it would be a perfectly wonderful house.
That "new" house was where my grandparents lived for the rest of their lives, and was where we all gathered together each year to celebrate Thanksgiving. After they had both died, one of the grandchildren bought the house. And each Thanksgiving we continue to gather there, even as the grandchildren have married and had children of their own, and those new children also have grown up and have had children.
Twice that 'new" house has been remodeled to make it easier to have a larger number of people be there for a sit down for dinner on Thanksgiving. Often there are not only family members, but also invited individuals, such as college students far from home, who otherwise wouldn’t get to be with anyone on Thanksgiving. There have been times when we've nearly 50 people come to enjoy good food and good conversations with one another.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to remember that we have so much to be thankful for. In our extended family we are thankful for a great many things. We are all thankful for our grandparents who provided us with so many wonderful memories, and even a place where we can enjoy getting together to share those memories. I hope you have people and a place to be with them this Thanksgiving so you can share your own memories with one another.