Thanksgiving is always steeped in tradition. Each family has their own traditions, such as what food is cooked and how it is cooked, activities that are a must for the day, and of course as much family and friends included as possible. It’s really all about love, relationships – and sharing the work!
In this next part of Hannah’s family’s Thanksgiving in New Parish you’ll learn some more about some of their traditions.
Excerpt from Return to New Parish:
Chapter 13 – Let’s Talk
“The next morning’s early start was the usual, Hannah and Sarah making their Grandmother’s cinnamon rolls, as per tradition. This time was a bit different, though. The big house kitchen made it easy to navigate, and of course Sarah had Parley with her.
Parley seemed very interested in what they were doing, Hannah dipped her finger in the icing just a bit, and gave him a taste. He got very excited and very animated with both his hands and feet moving rapidly. Sarah gave her a serious scowl.
She shrugged and winked at Parley, “Who’s your favorite auntie?”
He let her know his feelings with a big smile.
It didn’t take long for everyone to arrive on the scene and begin the traditional eating of the cinnamon rolls and meal prep in synchronicity. Hannah noticed her mom looking around often as they worked through the morning.
She began to feel a little uneasy thinking maybe she’d forgotten something important, so she asked, “Is something missing? What are you looking for? Maybe I can help find it?”
“I’m not looking for anything,” Samantha deigned.
“It’s just that, I see you looking around like you’re looking for something,” Hannah explained, feeling confused.
Samantha waved her hand in front of her as if to clear something away and went on with the food prep.
Sarah chuckled from behind Hannah and she turned to see what Sarah was laughing about. “She’s looking for Uncle Alex,” Sarah accused her mother.
“I most certainly am not!” Samantha defended herself, but couldn’t hide the guilty look.
“Oh,” Hannah sighed, catching on, “He’s not here. If, you were looking for him, he’s out till this afternoon.”
“Looking for another wife, I suppose,” Samantha scathingly accused.
“Ha!” Hannah returned. “He wasn’t looking when he got me, so I doubt it. He took Buck and some of the guys over to help out a fellow who’s had some hard times. You know, do some home repairs, mend fences, stock the pantry, stuff like that.”
“Mmm,” Samantha shrugged, “I’m still bewildered as to why you would marry a man old enough to be your grandfather. Even if things were perfect, and he’s not, you’d still not have very many years together,” Samantha sighed in frustration.
“She has a point,” Brenda shrugged. “With Sarah and Max the age difference isn’t that much. But Hannah, really, your guy is substantially older.”
Hannah’s thoughts went instantly to her friend at BYU, “Yeah, there’s an age difference, but it doesn’t matter to me. I think he’s awesome and amazing. Besides, you remember my friend, Helen. She came home with me a few years ago, she was a couple of years ahead of me in school. She was 21 and her husband had passed away a couple months before. They were the same age,” Hannah sighed. “They met their first year at BYU. He was so cute, very handsome, they had fallen in love immediately. He was sweet, kind, and really perfect. They were perfect together, so happy. Till his headaches got really bad. He went to the doctor and yeah, brain cancer, inoperable. Three months later all Helen could do was hold his hand and watch him die,” Hannah sighed again.
Silence settled on the room as Hannah finished telling about Helen. She noticed a sad smile on Sarah’s face, and how her mom was pretending what Hannah had said didn’t affect her at all.
To Hannah’s surprise her Dad spoke breaking the silence, “Sammy,” he began slowly, “You need to leave Alex alone. He’s a good man, and he loves our Hannah. And even more importantly Hannah needs him.”
Hannah wanted to run over to her dad and give him a huge hug, but she knew it would cause trouble with her mom. So she mouthed a silent, “Thank you.”
David winked and nodded, then went back to breaking beans.
Her mom continued to pretend nothing had been said.
When all the work of the day was done Hannah resisted the urge to grab another biscuit as she put them in the fridge for the next day’s work. They always made loads of them for the dressing, but Hannah liked them with a little butter and sometimes a little jam, it was a weakness.
Everyone was heading out for ranch tours, everyone except Samantha. They were going to take turns flying over the ranches and New Parish. All this was to happen before the traditional pizza and charades later. Dave and Sarah were already doing a bit of “clean” trash talk about who was going to win, Hannah had found that very entertaining, all day.
When everyone was gathered back together that evening, TVs were set up in the sitting room off of the kitchen for the kids to watch movies and play video games. Alex’s staircase room was the designated charades room, he hadn’t winced much at giving up his man cave for a couple of days.
There were five teams this year, the scoreboard was a large white board set up in front of Alex’s bar. This was the first time Hannah had her own team. She’d always known it would happen and now that it had, it felt even better than she’d thought it would, “A little weird,” she thought, “But, cool.”
Teams were divided up thusly: David, Samantha, and Beth. Her parents had always claimed Beth for their team because she was the book worm extraordinaire, she was also a librarian and had vast knowledge of all things literature.
They thought it gave them an advantage, Hannah thought it only gave them an advantage when the charade was about some old book or Shakespeare.
The next team was Dave and his wife Tabitha. The third team was Paul and his wife Margie. Next was Sarah’s team, which included Brenda, along with Max, of course, and Myra, and Del. Lastly was Hannah’s team, with her, Alex, Patty, Hope, and Cilla.
Once everyone was in the staircase room, numbers were drawn by the team captains to see what order the teams would present. Dave drew the number one, and smirked at Sarah, who rolled her eyes and drew number three. Hannah’s parents got number two, Paul got four, and Hannah drew five.
As Dave went to the charades bag, sitting on the center table, to draw his first challenge from it, Hannah noticed Alex sitting back relaxed looking amused. She had to smile…
Dave groaned a bit when he pulled the old strip of paper from the bag, then walked over to the designated charades spot at the end of the sitting area. He looked at it again as if he was wishing the words had changed, then placed one hand under his chin to accent his mouth opening as his other hand was behind his back acting as though he were moving a lever up and down. The room was silent with a lot of questioning looks on many faces.
Dave stopped this action and then did something very un-Dave like. He tip toed around with his hands pretending he were daintily holding onto a short skirt.
Everyone burst out in laughter and Myra shouted, “The Nutcracker Ballet!”
Dave sighed and nodded, “Thanks for ending that.”
Sarah jumped up triumphantly and went over to the scoreboard and put a tick mark under her team’s name.
David was next, and pulled out another old looking piece of paper. He slowly unrolled it and stoically read it. Then he looked at the back wall as if in deep thought and his eyes return to the slip of paper. With a sigh, he moved over to the presentation spot. Holding out both hands with a questioning look, he then pointed at himself.
“Who am I?” Beth spoke quietly.
David nodded and began to act very strangely. First, he squatted down and stood back up using his hands in a rising motion. Then he started strutting around like a bird with its chest puffed out. Then he opened his mouth as if he were singing, but with no sound coming out.
The audience went from watching intently to uncontrollable laughter in rotating intervals. There was also rapid whispering among the teams as they tried to figure out the answer.
He returned to the squatting and standing, but this time instead of the rising motion with his hands, he looked as though he were holding them purposefully low and then high. Then he began to pretend he were walking up stairs. After that, he pointed to his chin, and pulled at the loose bit underneath his chin to accent the extra part.
Hannah was at a complete loss, so she just decided to sit back and enjoy the show. She could overhear Sarah’s team whispering about a singing farmer and her Mom and Beth saying something about Fiddler on the Roof, but to her it was just hilarious.
Finally, Myra said, “Tevye?”
As per the rules David still couldn’t speak, so he held up his index finger on each hand, put them together and then apart.
“Oh,” Samantha said, “that’s only part of the charade.”
“How many words?” Sarah asked.
David held up seven fingers and began to dance around like a bird and as though he were dancing around a large pole.
“Tevye, If I were a Rich Man,” Beth asked tentatively.
“Yes!” David said, exhaustedly.
Sarah stood and looked as though she were scared of what the bag might do to her. She grabbed the bag by the top and shook it really good, looking as though she hoped all the hard ones would be shaken down to the bottom. She drew a slip of paper that looked old and very worn, she sighed even before she unrolled it.
Stepping into the charades arena, Sarah turned to face everyone. Her face held a blank expression, she raised her hands to the top of her head with all fingers pointing up. Her expression changed to one that looked prideful and haughty.
Del asked, “Are you a queen?”
Sarah shook her head in the negative and held her arms up to show muscles and express masculinity. Then she pretended her hands were a book which she opened and closed several times as she pretended to read.
Everyone looked clueless so she changed her approach all together and began pretending to dribble a ball, then she suddenly jumped and pretended an epic slam dunk.
“King James!” Max shouted.
Laughter erupted throughout the room and another tick mark was added to Sarah’s team score.
Charades went late that night. David finally had to intervene and call it done for the night. Sarah’s team was ahead by five and Dave was not happy about it.
The next morning Hannah woke to her alarm blaring loudly and was very tempted to snooze it. Forcing herself up, she quickly showered, dressed, and ran down to meet Sarah, who was coming in the front door as she reached the bottom of the stairs.
That day progressed much the same as the day before, only different foods were made ready for the next day’s feast. There was only one incident, which was between Dave and Brenda. Hannah thought Dave should have known better. Brenda had always been able to promptly put him in his place, or the place she deemed he should be put in. They were running out of places to put the deserts and as they deliberated on where to store them, Dave snidely said, “Maybe we should just keep the best ones and toss the others.” To which Brenda replied, “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought we were trying to solve a problem, I didn’t’ realize you thought it was a moment to be rude.”
Hannah had laughed so hard, not just at what Brenda had said, but at the expression on Dave’s face, which was priceless.
When the work was finished for the day, they had every fridge in the house full to capacity, every counter top brimming, and five ovens filled with two turkeys and three hams.
Hannah lamented a bit over the smell of food throughout the house, it made her hungry all the time, no matter where she was.
Alex hitched up the big wagon and took everyone for a hay ride that evening before the pizza and charades. Hannah thought it was a really nice respite after the work and before the battle. Max brought his guitar so they sang songs as they rode along the old wagon trail. To Hannah this was a little bit of heaven, she could tell by the expression on Sarah’s face that she was feeling the same.
For the final tally in charades, Sarah’s team won by two points. Dave decided that he and Paul would merge teams for next year’s competition, “It’s only fair. You guys have more people on your teams, creating an unfair advantage over us two person teams.”
“Fine,” David allowed. “You guys can merge next year, but no more complaining this year.”
After her good night hug Hannah went to bed without full recollection of getting there. The alarm once again woke her before she was quite ready to be that way. Yawning, she rolled out of bed, although she was leftover tired, she was excited about the day. Thanksgiving had always been her second favorite holiday, just simply because she knew her family would all be together.”
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