A Return To Thanksgiving

I was recently at a family Thanksgiving meal for the first time in 6 years, and it was good.   I returned a short couple of days, during which I enjoyed a stein night with dad (briefly) and the siblings, and also the merriment of family at the Koppenaal’s.  Things started as they always do: gathered around the TV to root on the Lions, and in the kitchen making final touches.  There were several false alarms as things were gotten set; clearly if the table is not ready to have people sit at it, then it is not time to migrate from the TV.  While I did have some interest in the game myself, my interests were in the kitchen.  I spent enough time in the minor leagues hacking up chickens, so, on this day when I was called up to the bigs, I ensured that the turkey was carved masterfully.

photo 1smallWe all crammed into the dining room, to dine.  All the staples were placed before me: sweet potato pie, a potato of potatoes, something with cranberry, the turkey of course, and some other things that I never got around to eating.  It was however fantastic to get at some of these once-a-year-dishes again.  I share this post-gluttony clip to laud the family’s progressive stance on gender roles.

That evening we returned to the estate to take part in a little family gaming.  We got things going with some a few rounds of Mexican Train, where I took a respectable second place behind dad.  Then, the boys decided to throw down in a friendly game of Scrabble.  I took the first round easily against Parker, who tried inventing words, and dad, who ‘couldn’t get any good tiles’.  Not able to stomach the embarrassment, Parker was practically begging me to go again, to which I eventually obliged.

We were locked into a battle of wits.  After exchanging the lead with nearly every turn, Parker established what appeared to be an insurmountable advantage by playing ‘SOCK’ on the Triple Word Score, and also getting the points for ‘NOMADS’.  Adding 39 to one’s tally late game is huge, and things were looking bleak for me.  With only 7 tiles left, and my back against the wall, I managed to cobble together ‘MEDALIST’ for the ultimate kibosh. Not only were the 50 bonus points for playing all seven tiles at once enough to surpass him, but it abruptly ended the game and offered the schmuck no chance at a rebuttal!  It was unbelievable, and shall forever remain in the annals of Bussies lore.

IMG_4156As a bonus during my time home, our Kenyan exchange student Shiku was also around to join in the festivities.  Together we took part in a wish making ritual, but had an unfortunate/inconclusive outcome.

I had to leave the following day to get back to a few Chicago obligation, but it was all indeed a nice trip back to Michigan.  I don’t make the painfully long drive often, so a day or two every once in a while is always nice.  We did manage to squeeze a family picture in though.
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