Thanksgiving. The word brings so many things to mind. Giving thanks, traditions, family, friends, food and warmth are just a few. We’ve had fancy dinners at nice hotel restaurants and meager dinners at a tiny diner where we were thankful the gravy was good and covered the rest of the food that wasn’t quite so tasty. My favorite Thanksgivings, though, were those spent in our little homestead house at the ranch.
The house always seemed to hold all who came. It is a small log house built of hand hewn logs my grandpa and his sons cut. When you walk in the door, there is a stand with a mirror above it to your right. On the stand is a basin that holds water for washing your hands. Immediately to your left is an old fridge, an even older white farmhouse stove and a 1930-something baker’s cabinet converted into a sink and cabinet for dishes. Straight ahead, kind of in the corner, is a huge wood stove. Next is the library table covered with work gloves, a radio and lots of other “farm things.” In the middle of the room is a long table with chairs on both ends. On one long side is the bench that my Uncle Clayton made and on the other long side are three chairs. Behind those three chairs on the far sidewall is a couch. Next to that is my Grandma’s dresser and beyond that her bed. There is another small room that was my Uncle Bill’s room/pantry and the bathroom is just inside that room, too.
Our Thanksgiving dinners usually started with my mom saying grace. Uncle Harold sat at the head of the table and Grandma was in a chair to his right with Uncle Bill to her right. I always fought to slide in between my dad and Uncle Wayne on the bench. Beyond that, it was a free-for-all for where you sat to eat. Sometimes a kids' table was set up in Uncle Bill’s room, but not often. Once conversation started, Uncle Harold told his latest jokes and we’d all laugh. Then they would argue about the color or the number of a cow, or the name of a horse from 20 years ago. There would be yelling for a while trying to prove who was right. Then dessert would come and Uncle Bill would see how much pie or cake he could fit in his mouth at once and we’d all laugh again.
I’m so thankful for that small house and those Thanksgiving memories. It may not have been the most perfect of holidays, but it was right where I wanted to be. I loved this old house with all its creaks and groans, the linoleum torn and pulling up in places. No large, beautifully arranged house could leave a mark on me like that house has. The fact that it was handmade with love by my grandpa and that 9 boys and one girl grew up there left quite the impression on me.