Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Day 3: Thanksgiving

The big day itself. Most people were arriving around 11:00 a.m., so we had a little time to finish up preparations and to get some of the food prepared and ready for the crowd. Unless I'm counting wrong, we had 28 people total, and since the F--- next door were having their family over there were a few additional people crossing back and forth between the parties. Celeste was the second youngest (her second cousin T--- is a few months younger), but did pretty well with the crowd. She did sort of keep to herself some, but she was polite to most everyone and even spent some time in the middle of the crowd of children (although I didn't get her to show off the firm handshake we've been working on).

Celeste at Thanksgiving

My uncle, S---, passed out Rebuild New Orleans magnetic ribbons (the ribbon is purple, green, and gold — the colors of Mardi Gras). I'll admit that I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to ribbon awareness and previously would only have considered a Support Our Sox magnet, but I was more than happy to put magnets on the T.R.U.C.K. and the Hyundai ... and I need to shift my commute so I drive past the Capitol every evening.

It was really good seeing everybody. Five cousins (along with the families of three of them and the fiancĂ©e of one other) were missing, so it wasn't quite a substitute for the "everyone's here" Christmas that didn't quite happen last year, but it was still a very nice time. And, of course, everyone had their Katrina, evacuation and post-Katrina reconstruction stories. It did dredge up some of those old feelings of guilt, but everyone seems to be rolling along pretty well — either rebuilding or moving in a new direction that makes sense — so it was good to hear both what people went through and what they have in store for the future.

My grandmother led the grace before dinner, and we all stood out on the deck (in the shadow of the tree that crunched my parents' house) and sang "We Gather Together". In the saying of grace, she struck the perfect note between looking back on the disaster and looking ahead to the future.

One funny thing was talking to some of my young first cousins once removed, most of whom I've had very little interaction with since we don't get down to Louisiana very often. One, L---, was hanging around while I was feeding Celeste. When I said something to her, she replied "How do you know my name?" I explained that I was her cousin and that the last time I'd seen her, she was about the same size as Celeste. She wasn't quite convinced. She didn't make me produce ID or anything, but I think she eventually accepted things when I said that her aunt and uncle (actually great aunt and great uncle_ were my mother and father and that her parents were my first cousins. The bit about Celeste being her second cousin pretty much went over her head, however.

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