Thanksgiving on the Prairie

Thanksgiving has become perhaps our very favorite family holiday in recent years, and we were looking forward to it even more this year, with our grandbabies coming in. While David & Ashley were on their way from North Carolina, they took this picture of Abigail in the back seat. Cheryl’s response when they posted it on Facebook: “Oh my goodness; she is so cute, get her here!” That pretty much summarized our attitude towards the week!


But before we could host everyone, we had to get everything ready on the home front, which meant that Paul’s condo had to be ready to host David & Ashley & Abigail. So we had to double-down the last week on his condo remodel. One afternoon, after I had finished painting the kitchen in Paul’s condo, I noticed that there was a bright, white stripe down the side of one wall, that looked like it had not been painted grey like the rest of the wall. I painted over it again, but was puzzled, as I could still see the white shining through. I waited for the paint to dry, but the white streak was still there. I ended up covering it 3-4 times, and it was still as bad it ever was. I thought to myself: “What IS this — some devilish stain that is deep-seated inside the wall? Do I need to KILZ it, or what?” I remarked about it to Cheryl, and she came over and looked it over, but couldn’t figure it out either. Then I thought I noticed something. I told Cheryl: “Move over towards the window again …”. Sure enough — her shadow covered the streak! It wasn’t a stain at all; it was the street light shining on the wall!

Saturday before the kids & grandkids came in, Cheryl was going out with Paul to shop for some last-minute things for Pauls apartment. It was raining so heavily that they had just announced that the OU game was being postponed, and as a result, Cheryl had rolled up the bottom of her jeans for the trip.
“Should I unroll these; does this look stupid?”
“No,” I said. “It looks nice. Looks like something from the 50’s.”
“Well, I AM in my 50’s …”

Sunday morning, following his first night in his remodeled condo, I saw Paul walking back to our place. Laughingly, I ran and locked the front door just as he got there: “No coming back!” When I let him in, Cheryl asked: “Did you forget your toothbrush?”
Paul: “No. I don’t have any shoes — or socks!”

Once the kids arrived, it didn’t take long for us to launch into the games, like SCATTERGORIES.

Some of the highlights include:

“Things That are black” (and begin with the letter “B”)
Michael: “Bogotan Natives”
Someone: “What?”
Michael: “You know, natives of Bogota.”
Me: “Bogota, Columbia, SOUTH AMERICA? They are Hispanic, not black.”
Michael: “Dang it.”
David: “That kind of answer only works if you are the smartest person in the room!”

“Things you are allergic to.” (and begin with “H”)
Ashley’s answer: “Homework.”
After it was voted down by the group, Ashley responded: “Hey, the instructions said ‘Be unique’!”

Naming drinks that begin with the letter “B”. Someone suggested Barq’s root beer.
Cheryl: “Paul & I thought it was pronounced ‘Barge’s’.”
Paul: “Don’t throw me under the bus. I thought it was Barg’s.”
Me: “Don’t throw you under the barge?”
(A few seconds later) Paul: “Yep, I’m looking at it on the internet; the letter goes like this (he said, making an appropriate motion with his hand) not like this … I can’t believe I’ve lived this long thinking it was Barg’s.”
Moments later he was still shaking his head and bemoaning: “29 years …”

Later, as we were all sitting in the living room, Baby Abigail was making one of her first baby sounds, a little “Eeeeeeek” screech.
“That is SO cute”, I said, reaching over to get my iPad. “I’ve got to video that!”
As I stood before Abigail, about to video, suddenly, just behind me I heard: “Eeeeeek! Eeeeek! Eeeeek!” We all burst out laughing: it was Corley Jane — doing her best to steal back some of Boompa’s attention!


I had been reading a book to Corley, who is 18 months old, and at one point she got down from my lap, book in hand, and walked by her baby cousin, Abigail, who is 6 months old. “Can you read that to Abigail?” I asked her. Corley went over to Ashley, our daughter-in-law and Abigail’s mother, and began to “read” the book to Abigail from there. Her language was interesting if not varied:
“Daga daga daga daga daga daga daga daga daga daga. UH OH!”
I said: “I guess every good book has to have some drama!”
Then she continued: “Daga daga daga daga daga daga daga daga daga, AWWW.”
Sounds like it had a happy ending!


Later in the week, my sister Hope and her family arrived. Her daughter Charity (5 years old) came over, and at one point I asked her if she wanted me to read her a book. She said she did, and I asked her which one.
“That one”, she said, pointing to “Over The River & Through The Woods”, a child’s book which was sitting up on display in the living room.
“OK, that will be fun”, I said, taking the book off the stand.
Charity looked surprised, and said: “Mama said that was just a decoration!”


The two grandbabies were playing at my feet, and nearby were my slippers, one of which Corley was trying to put on her foot, while Abigail was trying to nibble on the other. When Corley had gotten the first one on, she began to take the other from Abigail, who didn’t want to relinquish it, of course. Hoping to teach a lesson in interpersonal skills, I told Corley: “Go get that Thomas the Train book over there, and see if Abigail wants it. Then you can have the slipper.”
Corley toddled over and got the book, and brought it back. She held it out to Abigail, who wanted it indeed. But then Corley changed her mind. Now she decided that she wanted to keep the book herself!
I think this may be one of those incidents that confirms the doctrine of an inborn sin nature!

We were watching the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving morning, and the anchors were joined by a third person I didn’t recognize.
“I’m sure she is supposed to be a celebrity, but I don’t know who that is”, I said.
Just then, the station flashed a subtitle, indicating that she was a Victoria’s Secret model.
“Good thing I didn’t know who she was!” I said, to laughs all around!

Cheryl, back at our condo from the clubhouse, where we had eaten our big family Thanksgiving dinner: “Michael, can you go get the pitcher of sweet tea from the clubhouse?”
Michael: “Farm boy, fetch me that pitcher!”
Cheryl: “I noticed you didn’t say, ‘As you wish’!”

Friday morning, I had gotten up early to have my quiet time before the house got crazy, and after a while I could hear some toddler noises coming from Josh & Libby & Corley’s room. I heard Corley laughing, and then Libby growl, “Stop kicking me!” So I went to the door and knocked, and took Corley off with me sit in my lap and watch “Curious George”, or as Corley calls it, “Ah-ah-ah” (imitating a monkey sound – what’s cuter than that?)
When everyone was up, they were talking about how I had come and gotten Corley. I said that I had heard Libby say: “Stop kicking me” so I thought I’d better rescue Corley.
“How did you know it wasn’t Josh?”, Libby quipped.
“Well, I just figured I’d better rescue whoever needed it: Corley, Josh …”

Cheryl & I called Corley Jane over to us for a “group hug” like we used to do with Michael when he was little. When I picked Corley up and held her close to us, I said: “Hmmm … smells like one of the three of us has gone in their pants!”

Late one evening, I wanted to call Corley to myself, and I said, “Libby … I mean, Corley, come here!” Corley reminds me so much of Libby when she was that age, I have done that a number of times. In fact, when I said it that evening, Libby said, “Dad, that makes 6 times you’ve done that today!”

Paul & I were talking as we left the clubhouse after Thanksgiving dinner. I guess I just expected him to walk back to the condo with me. Instead, as we talked, he began to “y” off toward his own unit. The symbolic nature of that wasn’t lost on me.

Unfortunately we all got sick with a horrendous virus the last few days of the week. It hit Libby and young nephew Jeremiah first, but then gradually spread to just about everyone, and a couple even went to the emergency room. It was vicious, but the worst part of it was relatively short-lived, though it took a day or two to recover from.
As he was saying goodbye to Cheryl, one of the last to come down with the virus, and who was still in bed, David said in his own inimitable and ironic way: “Thanks for everything you gave us!” 🙂


About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
This entry was posted in Home & Family Life, This Week In Paradise (pastors family blog). Bookmark the permalink.

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