According to news reports, about 300,000 people traveled from the D.C. area to other parts of the country for the Thanksgiving holiday last week. I was one of them.
Although most of my friends think I’m crazy, I absolutely love airports. As I headed to Ronald Reagan National Airport to catch my flight from D.C. to Dallas, I could feel myself begin to relax. Perhaps this isn’t normal, but airports actually have a calming effect on me. After all, going to the airport means that you’ll be transported somewhere and have a change of scenery. Not to mention that at the airport you can curl up in the waiting area with a good magazine or book and let the world pass you by until it’s time to board.
I landed in Texas happy to see my family, but also wishing that Leon was with me. He spent Thanksgiving with his family in North Carolina; his sister Julie is in the marching band at UNC and had to perform during the football game, so his parents flew in from Colorado and he drove down from D.C. so that they could all spend the holiday together. We decided that I would head down to Texas to visit with my family, but would travel together to see both sets of families for Christmas.
But back to Thanksgiving. I arrived safely in Dallas, and my dad and I chatted while we drove to my parents’ house in McKinney where I had grown up. I already felt myself becoming sentimental as I put my backpack in my old room, and as I usually did, walked around looking at my things still perched where they had been for so many years. I looked at old pictures from high school, shuffled through the Prom dresses still hanging in my closet, and thumbed through college textbooks still on the bookshelves. Every time I go home it’s a trip down memory lane.
Then it was time to cook. My grandmother was visiting, and she, my mother, my sister-in-law Leah, and I worked together to cook a traditional Southern Thanksgiving meal. (This meant that several dozen sticks of butter lost their lives that weekend).
After a whole lot of work, the table was set and it was time to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family. My dad was home from work, my brother Taylor was home from Baylor, Mimi was there from Groesbeck, Texas, and my brother Andrew and sister-in-law and Leah came from Frisco, Texas. Mom and I gave each other a congratulatory hug before diving into the goodies.
The thing about cooking that I am still fascinated by is that it takes hours–or days–to prepare a feast, but less than half an hour to actually eat everything. We all scarfed down turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows on top, lime congeal salad, mushroom and broccoli casserole, pecan pie, and everything else that constitutes a Texas Thanksgiving offering. It was all wonderful.
After enjoying a semi-comatose state from eating so much, my mother and I went shopping in Dallas for my wedding dress. It did cross my mind that that was perhaps a very unwise thing to do…But I figured that if I looked okay in a dress after Thanksgiving dinner, it would probably look okay under normal circumstances.
There’s something about a girl going shopping with her mother. In the course of one afternoon, amidst the crowds congregating at shopping centers for post-Thanksgiving sales, my mother and I managed to find my wedding dress, veil, sash, and shoes. We probably burned off about half a stick of butter running around Dallas too–mission accomplished.
It was a good Thanksgiving, and had a mix of sentimental aspects involved. For nostalgia, I was in my old room, where I had grown up, and ate all of the traditional Thanksgiving food that we’d had since I can remember. For present day consciousness, I found my wedding dress and was hit with the exciting, fluttery feeling that in the next few months I would get to marry my best friend. I felt very humbled by how much the Lord had blessed me over the years, through good times and bad times, and was overwhelmed by a sense of thankfulness for friends and family who had walked with me every step of the way.
I guess that those are the best kinds of holidays to experience–those in which you pay homage to your past, keep your eyes focused on the great things to come, and take time to be thankful for previous and present blessings.