Then, Rick asks me if I'm okay with him going hunting on Thanksgiving Day. Knowing that he hasn't been hunting but once this season, knowing how much he enjoys being in the woods and contemplating the issues of the day while sitting under a tree, knowing how much he want to fill our freezer, I realized that he would be a better 'Rick' if I let him go. That left me here, at home, wondering what I was going to do with myself on Thanksgiving Day. I had many options available to me, it was just a matter of deciding which one best suited me.
I could stay home - by myself - on a holiday that is best spent eating/dining/sharing with others.
I could serve meals at the local shelter - they put out a list of volunteer needs and I fit a few of them.
I could join a group of travelers and loners at a local club, meet new people, exchange interesting stories.
I could join the family of a fellow Toastmaster - she initiated the invitation to me as soon as she heard that we would be in town.
I could join the Kelly family.
I decided that I would join the Kelly family, at least those that were in town and able to gather at the Kelly house.
The Kelly's have become second family to me, and now to my husband. We've had a key to the house for over 20 years. When we lived in Indianapolis, Mary and Terry would visit with us on weekends. We traveled many times from Indianapolis to Clarksville and spent weekends at the Kelly house.
The house wasn't full this year, but was still warm and cozy. We all acknowledged the absence of Terry (Pop - died in 2008) and Jamie (Brother - died in 2004).
Mary and Erin cooked the meal. Here's Mary putting the finishing touches on the feast and not knowing I snuck a picture of her:
Dallas, Jamie's widow, joined us with her new husband (actually Kenny didn't want to join in the meal). Here Erin is frenchbraiding Dallas' hair for the evening.
Joe Heuser, joined the Marines on the buddy system with Jamie, still a Marine now stationed in Japan.
We ate. We laughed. We played. Rick was able to join us late in the evening. Though he didn't get a deer, he looked calm and refreshed, so it was a good thing that he went hunting.