My sunny Florida kitchen looked out upon sunlight sparkling on the turquoise-blue water of our swimming pool. I watched a squirrel run up the palm tree that cornered the pool while I waited for boiled eggs to cool. A few minutes later, I went to peel the eggs, but they’d vanished.
“Where did my eggs go?” I yelled loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear.
My son, Rodney, grinned. “I don’t know.”
“I put them in the sink to cool.” I looked down the drain. “That thing ate my eggs.”
Rodney came up beside me and asked, “What thing?”
I pointed to the sink’s drain. “The new garbage disposal Scott insisted on.”
The family laughed like I was a comedian.
“When I first met her, she didn’t even know how to work a dishwasher," my husband said. "Now she doesn’t know how to use the new garbage disposal. Do I have to teach you everything?” His brown eyes twinkled. He patted my shoulder, and his grin lit up his face. Teaser that he was, it was easy for him to amuse the family and for them to enjoy the playfulness of his comments. “Reach your hand down there and get them.”
“I’m not putting my hand in that thing.”
The family’s laughter filled the kitchen. “I can’t make potato salad.
Those were my last three.”
“I’ll run to the store,” someone offered.
Rod said, “It’s a wonder you didn’t accuse me of eating them.”
“The garbage disposal did the job for you. I can’t believe I did that. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without potato salad.”
“Don’t you mean without turkey?” Rod rubbed his stomach.
I smiled. “No, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the thanks and the giving. Having you visit makes it blessed. We can thank God for a good laugh and a joyful day. We’ll remember this for many Thanksgivings to come.”
“Yeah, Mom, Scott will never let you live that one down.”
"I’ll remember how I lost my eggs every year.” I diced the pickles and green onions. “When you were small, I cooked huge family meals. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and decorating for the holidays. Another Thanksgiving is etched in the pages of my memories. Unexpected guests arrived with the family, and the ten-foot wide trailer couldn’t hold them. The cramped kitchen only held a small table.”
Rod took a pickle from the jar. “What happened?”
"I had plenty of food cooked, so I borrowed silverware and plates from your grandmother.”
“Who would show up uninvited?”
“Your grandmother and aunts asked friends from church.” I dumped pickles and green onions into a bowl and continued. “By the time the turkey was served, the trailer burst with people trying to find plates and utensils for eating. People packed into it like sardines in a tin can. Since God smiled on us with beautiful Louisiana weather, most of them took their plates and sat outside to eat. The air was crisp, cool, and refreshing after baking in the hot kitchen. I took my plate and joined them on the steps of the tiny porch.”
Rod’s blue eyes twinkled as he listened to me reminiscing. “I can just see you
balancing a plate of turkey and cornbread dressing on your lap.”
“It tasted every bit as good outside.” I playfully tapped his chest. “I had one more chair than Henry David Thoreau, who wrote in his book Walden that he had only three chairs.”
“Thoreau thought houses were “extravagantly large”. My trailer was extravagantly small for all the Thanksgiving dinner guests. We enjoyed the brisk air and sunshine and thanked God for our family and friends, delicious food, and a lovely day. You know son, that Thanksgiving and this one will always be etched in my heart, mind, and soul.”
“When the guests left, they thanked me for a great home-cooked meal, not an impressive dinner. One man with electric blue eyes said, “It didn’t matter if the dinnerware didn’t match. We didn’t come here for you to impress us.”
A lot has changed over the years. My children are grown and have made me a grandmother multiple times. I’ve lost family members. My first husband, mother, father, and youngest sister all live in their heavenly home. Though some of the most loved people in my life are not here to share the holidays, I still have a traditional turkey each Thanksgiving, celebrate, and thank God for our food. Some things never change. I know my lost loved ones are feasting in heaven and waiting for me.
I thank God for the family who now shares my holidays. Last year, I did not bake turkey. Rod fried a turkey for us the Christmas before, and it was so juicy it melted in our mouths. So, Scott bought a turkey fryer and experimented. Ever since he cooked his first fried turkey, he said we wouldn’t have another baked one, so was relieved of one of my Thanksgiving duties for a few years. But, this year, Scott asked me to roast the turkey traditional style, and it came out golden brown and delicious.
We are a close-knit family group. Fancy plates and utensils don’t matter, nor does a fancy setting. What makes holidays special has nothing to do with materialistic things. The warmth and friendliness of our family and friends make up for whatever trivial items are lacking.
Times change, people change, places change, but the heart of the family and thanking God for His blessings and your family remain the same. I thank God for the Thanksgiving the garbage disposal ate the eggs and the year uninvited guests overfilled my tiny trailer. Those blessed Thanksgiving days will be eternally etched in the pages of my family’s hearts and minds.
B. J. Robinson makes her home in Florida with her husband, a cat, and two dogs. She is a graduate of Christian Writers Guild’s, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and a graduate from the Long Ridge Writers Group. This story appeared in St. Cloud in the News. Since then, Robinson has authored two Christian romantic suspense novels. Last Resort released July 15, and Southern Superstitions releases January 15. She would like to thank her wonderful readers and supporters and says, "You're a blessing to me and inspire me to keep writing."
Friday, November 25, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
The Good Fight by Shawna K. Williams released November 1, 2011, by Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc. It's twenty-nine chapters of inspiration, a sweet 20'th Century historical, a plus novel, so you'll get your money's worth. I normally don't read a lot of historical romance, but this one captivated me as the third novel in a series. No Other and In All Things are the first two. I loved all three. In this one, you're introduced to a new character, Pennye Boyle Carrington, and a character from the first novel comes back to life, Roger Talbot. Pennye and Roger grew up with nothing in common, both living different lifestyles. Roger is captivated by her the first time he sees her in the courtroom, but even when he finds himself falling for her, he doesn't really know who she is. Will it make a difference when he finds out she's the sister to a man he's prosecuted for murder? Pennye sees herself as an elephant that can never be a butterfly and each time she allows herself to hope, her heart and spirit are crushed. Dare she allow Roger to get close? Even though he sees her as a butterfly will he think her an elephant when he finally discovers who she really is? She left her hometown and reinvented herself. She really is Pennye Carrington, but she has to confess to Roger, sooner or later, that she's Pennye Boyle, was married, is divorced. She puts it off and can't bring herself to risk losing him, but she vows she'll tell him soon. He takes her to church with him, and she meets judgment head on in the eyes of an old high-school enemy. Has she waited too late to confide in Roger? She came back to help her brothers. She can't let Roger get in the way. The church confrontation assures her she'll always be an elephant, and she runs again. How far will she go this time? Roger was raised by a wealthy family, and she was raised by a poor one. They're from two very different worlds, and Roger deserves a butterfly, or does he? Can a social butterfly make the real man he is truly happy? Pennye wears clothes with kittens on them. She'll never be a social butterfly. Would she even want to be? What happens when a red-headed elephant falls head over heels for a man the whole town expects to marry a fine woman of good standing? Will Pennye always be judged by her family? Can she ever be her own person? Can she save her brothers? Not without Roger's help. What's an elephant to do? The author weaves a tale with depth and precision that will evoke reader emotions. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll love the ending. I did. It's so touching, and both characters truly have to fight the good fight. Question is, can they both win it? This is a five-star story of depth.
Friday, November 11, 2011
This Time for Keeps by K. Dawn Byrd released October 15 by Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc. In this sweet romance India McGuire is forced to make a choice between David Richards, a predictable, reliable neighbor, and an old love resurfaced, Chase Porter. She yearns to follow her heart, but fears ending up alone again. Is David really as predictable, loyal, and dependable as he seems, as everyone thinks he is? He's got politics in mind. India wonders if she's cut out to be a politician's wife. Can she trust her heart to Chase again, after a decade of thinking he was out of her life for good? On the eve of her engagement to David, Chase returns to come between them. He plans to fight to win her back, and David plans to marry India. Which man will win her heart for keeps? Which man truly loves her? Is it love with David, or does he merely want a marriage of convenience? Chase claims he wants her land. This is the first book I've read by this author, but I loved the twist at the end of the novel when a long buried family secret is revealed and no other than the town gossip proves she can keep a secret, after all. If you like stories with a love triangle or old love and second chances, you will enjoy this novel.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
The Red Fury Empire in Pine Book Two by Naomi Musch is a plus novel recently released by Desert Breeze Publishing, October 15, 2011, a warm, inspirational historical romance. The first novel in the series is The Green Veil Empire in Pine Book One. When I read the first one, I couldn't wait for the second, and now, I can't wait for the third. Lainey Kade has been unlucky in love, so when she meets Zane and Kelly Beaumont, she vows they'll only be friends. What will she do when both brothers fall for her? Which will she choose, if any? The author has created strong characters that will melt and wrench your heart. Kelly loves Lainey and buys her a ring. Zane loves Lainey, too, and his passion burns as strong as the red fury of a fire, but he takes himself out of the picture so Kelly can propose to Lainey. Lainey cares deeply for both brothers and doesn't want to hurt either, but she feels she can't give her whole heart and wonders if she'll ever be able to give it to any man. The three become the closest friends when an accident takes you by surprise. I wondered if the red fury would start from a lamp left burning so Zane could find his way back into the livery, but, of course, Naomi Musch wouldn't be that predictable. This is a powerful novel that will rip your heart out, so be prepared. It's a great love story of self-denial, trust, selfishness, courage, loyalty, and true love so passionate the red fury has nothing on it. And talk about determined, Kelly is a courageous man who never gives up and keeps on keeping on until the red fury twists its way through their lives without warning. I promise you, if you read these two books, you'll have found an author you'll want to keep reading. Her novels are moving and powerful love stories that evoke your emotions and reduce you to tears, but through all the hardships she has her characters endure, God has a perfect plan that will melt your heart. I rate both these prestigious novels a rating of five stars. Naomi Musch is an author you'll want to read over and over again, no doubt about it. She'll take your heart on a journey you won't soon forget. These terrific novels are full-length, and you'll get your money's worth. Check them out at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com as well as Desert Breeze Publishing. Click on the book covers to read free excerpts.