The beginning of the holiday season and it’s Thanksgiving in Scripps Ranch. The trimmings are sliced, diced, racked, stacked, made, and splayed. They wait patiently and know well their supportive role. Leaving the spotlight for the star…the bird, who butterballs itself into a feast fit for royalty. The televised grid-iron adventures are underway. The helmeted gladiators do battle for enemy territory and the pride of their representative cities. Due to circumstances beyond my control we, my wife and I, are hosting Tallulah and her new second husband, Sigmund. Tallulah, an old friend of my wife’s, lives out of state. We don’t see her often but whenever we do she insists on updating us about guys my wife dated before meeting me, laughing too hard at her own marginally humorous jokes, and squeezing her forty-something into outfits intended for twenty-somethings. Sigmund, the new husband, seems a nice enough fellow. He computer programs, helps carpool Tallulah’s kids, and gets together with his buddies once a month to play poker. Trying to entertain him, however, proves difficult. His knowledge of football is minimal; not the most important subject, granted, but on Thanksgiving Day? Come on, man, read a pamphlet at least, huh? When offered a choice between any of my four growlers filled with exotic locally micro-brewed beers, Sigmund responds by bemoaning the fact I’ve failed to offer any pale yellow mast-produced libations. Can we all agree right now that if you have a special request in the food or drink department, you stop and pick it up yourself before coming to the party.
With the turkey carved and the table set we fall into consuming. It is then somewhere between the mashed potatoes and the stuffing, as the gravy works into my system and the biscuits warm my belly, the dinner conversation seems to fade in my ear and my vision goes to soft focus. I suddenly see in our guests a recently remarried single mother who has sacrificed much for the good of her children; who in spite of some past experiences still believes in love and the power it processes; and who still aspires to improve herself. And next to her a man, honest and hard-working, who because of his love for this woman gives his all in providing for her and her offspring; who foregoes his own plans and wishes to spend time with her old friends; and who graciously accepts new people with different interests. I am slightly embarrassed, a little ashamed, and extremely thankful.

                                                               Daniel J McAuliffe
                                                               Scripps Ranch

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