It's hard to believe that another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Like so many before it, it will be one I remember.
It started with our drive from Virginia to Ohio. Katie and I debated for weeks whether to leave Wednesday afternoon or get up early Thanksgiving morning and make the drive. We chose Wednesday. We chose terribly wrong. We were barely out of Richmond when we ran into an accident that had traffic backed up to the Atlantic Ocean and possibly beyond. The slow traffic woke Ian and Elliott up from the naps they had just begun. And two napless boys can make a 10 hour drive seem like a 10 year trek through a desert - on a mule - without water.
I have never been as relieved as I was that night to see the Welcome to Ohio sign. Elliott and Ian screamed all the way up route 77 through West Virginia. If it wasn't so frustrating, I would have been impressed that someone so small could scream such big sounds the length of an entire state. Thank God Gigi and Papa Hoss live in central Ohio, or I have no doubts they would have screamed through two states, which would have been some kind of record. Ian screamed generic screams. Elliott was a little more pointed with his. "Daddy, I wana lay," he yelled for hours, out of sorts that he couldn't climb out of his carseat and sprawl out somewhere to sleep. All I could think was "me too buddy, me too."
Now, Katie and I were both thankful to be in Ohio on Thanksgiving day and not driving. That isn't to be confused with I'm glad we did it that way, or that we ever, ever, ever will again, but I was thankful.
The boys had a great visit. Elliott really enjoyed being able to run around and play football with his cousins. A couple of scenes I'll remember:
There was a dog roaming the neighborhood that no one was real sure whose it was or where it belonged. Several times this dog came loafing around the yard where the boys were playing and they ran into the house to escape it. Not that it was chasing. I was watching out the window when the boys spotted the stray and they all raced for the house. My nephew Evan, who is big for his age and much bigger than Elliott, was leading the sprint to the back door when he suddenly realized that Elliott had been left behind. I watched as he stopped dead in his tracks, reversed his course, and scooped Elliott up with one arm and then raced back to the house. He looked like a fireman rescuing someone from a burning building. Elliott was grateful.
A few moments later I looked out the same window to check on Elliott. I saw him laughing uncontrollably. I looked a little closer to see what had sent him into such hysteria. Not far from Elliott was a stream of water shooting out from behind a nearby tree. And connected to the stream was cousin Luke, who had decided the bathroom was a bit far and an unnecessary interruption to the outdoor fun.
Not more than five minutes later, I saw Elliott standing in the middle of the yard, with his pants and underwear resting on his shoes, doing the best he could to duplicate Luke's trick - only minus the tree. In Elliott's words to Papa Hoss before he did it, "I'm just going to pee pee in the grass Papa Hoss."
I am sure all of these tricks will be passed down to Ian, who was sleeping or practicing his walking while all of this was going on. Ian did his best to share his big smiles and bigger appetite while he visited everyone in Ohio. Aunt Kim and cousins Evan and Mackenzie got to see him for the very first time and Ian seemed to like them.
I am thankful we had the opportunity to have a family-filled Thanksgiving. As we close a year that should reminded us just how fleeting the material things of this world can be, memories like those we created this Thanksgiving and so many before it can never be lost.