My sister’s big family always has Thanksgiving together in the home of one of the daughters. We gather, holding hands, and each of us adds to the communal prayer of gratefulness that develops as we each speak. All beautiful, often tears, unexpected tears from the patriarch this year. A 30th birthday celebration for one of the ‘kids’, turning 30 today and in from New York for the holiday.
Then the feast, always super ample. And after dinner, as we were groggily talking to one another, the hostess called us all together to figure out Christmas – when, where, the presents protocol. We were each given a bag with a number on the bottom, and told to line up in order of that number. Took me a while to figure out I had a 6 with a line under it – looked like 16, or maybe that funny number was a 0. With a few of her huge whistles, she had us in good order.
Then we were told to take the pieces of paper out of our bags and hold them to our chest, covering up the letter. We’re all figuring this is a secret Santa deal of some sort. Then we’re told to turn our letters around so they can be seen. Wish… no, that’s the word Will. And Merry …Christmas? No, that’s an A. Turns out another one of the ‘kids’ is proposing to his wonderful girlfriend, who’s been a member of the family for quite a while, as far as we are all concerned. He got done on his knees, and did the whole proposal right! The ring was a beautiful piece of bling. He had already asked her father for permission. And her parents were there, having just stopped by for a few minutes, supposedly. He is obviously quite the producer, having arranged each minute detail.
The champagne was already chilled for the toasts, which were creative and serious. So our big annual feast ended with all of us even happier than usual.