A browned turkey, cornbread dressing, and many second-string foods necessary for Thanksgiving Dinner lay in front of us as we waited for the time of consumption. And after that - in the most sacred of all Thanksgiving traditions - football.
What could be more perfect?
These were the days before the most hideous side affects of the cancer appeared – but not too long after the drinking had ceased. Dad was actually here for the meal and not off somewhere fixing someone’s air conditioner or heater or beer cooler.
Maybe that’s why I remember; my dad was there, and unexpectedly, so was I.
As our browned turkey sat motionless (which was a good thing) we bowed our heads for grace.
But a knock at the front door interrupted grace.
Because we were all accounted for, we weren’t sure who it could have been – there standing at our porch. Back then there was a window pane in the front door and five pairs of widening deer-eyes stared as we recognized who it was out there – alone.
I had not expected to see him again – ever really. Not enough time had elapsed since the divorce; nor would it ever. I thought, hoped, by now he would have been back in Michigan, far away. My face did not betray my feelings. I did not want to see him again.
Someone opened the door. Michael stood, waiting; almost paralyzed. For an awkward moment we all waited and stared at him; the question hanging in the air as to whether he would be allowed to join our family around the table and the browned turkey.
He didn’t get a chance to speak – not that he was on the verge of saying anything anyway.
Dad spoke: “Come on in, sit down and eat.”
Another plate, silverware, and sweet tea and we scooted over for the additional chair.
I held my tongue.
My sister ushered Michael in, into our dining room, and around the Table. He said that he was on his way back home and just wanted to say goodbye.
I didn’t want Michael to be there. I am still amazed that he gathered the courage to appear.
I suppose it doesn’t matter.
But, I am thankful I had a Dad generous enough to open the door, welcome him, and give me a chance to share a little grace.
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