Just like all holidays, Thanksgiving required hours upon hours of preparations and then passed in a flash and became only a memory. I really enjoyed my first chance to host the once-every-two-years Presley Family Thanksgiving. I’m much more comfortable having lots of responsibilities and preparations to make rather than feeling like I need to socialize with everyone. Large groups are just tough for me, so being in the background was right where I wanted to be. Ruth came over the night before so that she could get up early to make the turkey. It was a 22.5 lb. turkey and the leftovers fit easily into a sandwich size Zip Lock. Can you believe that? Everyone began arriving around 11:30 and they visited with each other while we continued to cook. More and more food just kept coming through the door and our biggest problem was where to put it all! Ruth kept asking me where she should put dishes and my response eventually became: “Your guess is as good as mine!” The most hilarious food arrival was the FOUR trays of homemade, custard-style banana pudding. Apparently it’s a Thanksgiving favorite with this group and not having enough has been a problem in the past. Only half of one got eaten, leaving me the challenge of where to put the rest. I ended up giving one to my grandparents, dumping the half down the garbage disposal and keeping the other. My bet is that it will sit in the fridge for about 3 days and then get dumped as well. 3 days is about my limit for looking at leftover food sitting in my fridge.
Everyone took lots of pictures and I downloaded them all onto my computer for sharing. Here are some of the highlights of the day:
Before the Feast
It is a Presley Thanksgiving tradition to take a picture of everyone that attended that year, then to take shots of each branch of the family. It always a challenge to find good light, good seating for the elderlys and getting everyone to actually come together in one place and smile and look at the camera at the same time. We had a little bit of drama this year. As Jeff’s grandmother Mary Jo was making her way to her chair with her walker, she didn’t realize that there was a little drop-off when you go off of the patio. I was inside putting away food, taking advantage of everyone being outside and I hear this collective GASP from everyone outside. I see Mary Jo heading down to the right, her head hits one of the metal lawn chairs and she’s laying in the grass face-first. After the tough time she had the week before, I’m thinking that she’s had a stroke. Everyone rushes to her and finds that she’s just given herself a nice gash on the back of the head and probably some nasty bruises. But, she’s ok. The towel you see in the family picture below is the one we were using to get the blood off the back of her head. Drama always surrounds large family gatherings, it seems. I’m just glad that no one got seriously injured or died on my year! They’d say, “Oh yes, I remember 2008 when Jeff and Mandi hosted. (insert bad situation) was SO terrible!”
Perhaps the greatest compliment of all was everyone (for the most part) staying. We watched football, conversations went on all over the house, people laughed, babies played and just enjoyed being together. At around 6:30, we pulled the leftovers out and everyone had their favorites for the second time. It was probably 8:30 before the house cleared out. To me, people staying at your house shows that they feel comfortable in your space and that you’ve done a good job of making them feel at home.
Jeff’s cousin Vicki, her husband Peter and their 11-month old daughter Kate stayed the night in our guest room. For me, this was the most fun I’d had all day. I can tolerate large groups, but I don’t do well being social in large groups. So, when it was just the 4 of us after the kids went to bed, we cracked open a bottle of wine and added Kaluah and Bailey’s to the leftover coffee. We chatted it up while football and silly shows played on the tv. We let the stress of the day fade away as we laughed about the events of Thanksgiving and the crazy quirks of our family members and we stayed up past our bedtimes. This was a perfect end to Thanksgiving.