Thanksgiving is always a favorite holiday for the Jacksons.     We can’t deny that we look foward to the feast, with each piece of it carefully crafted by Kristine.   The pies (apple and pumpkin), and the standard meal.   Ours includes turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, red cabbage, homemade noodles (Lorraine makes them), carrots, stuffing, cucumber salad. cauliflower, and beverages.    Of course we don’t start with the meal, it starts with the anticipation. 

I started the day by cleaning the kitchen before Kristine woke up and doing my ranch routine with KC.   I wake up at 6am (KC doesn’t give you a choice) and bring KC out to the kitchen as I call Rocksey our dalmatian in.   We will up Rocksey’s bowl with dogfood and I put KC down with her.  The two of them chow down on dogfood, but KC sets the pace as he holds the bowl and feeds Rocksey by hand until he gets bored with it.  That buys me about 15 minutes of uninterupted time.   When KC comes up to me walking around chewing on a chunk of dogfood, it is time for step two.     I put him in his high chair and give him Cheerios and raisins.  By this time I have delivered Kristine her morning coffee in bed and i am on my first cup, and done emptying the dishwasher, and I start checking my email, but not today, as it is Thanksgiving, but I did check the water levels at Rock Island… “2 or more generators 6am-11am”   I emailed clay to tell him that we would be out there and skyped Nick (everyone needs Skype, way better).    Now we are talking, we are in the sun, putting in for a Thanksgiving paddle at our home spot.    I remember that I am very thankful that not only can I paddle every day here, but that i get to paddle at all.    On this day we created a new fun game that I can’t wait to try out with the kids too.     The kids (Emily and Dane) are in Mexico with their uncle Scott doing a river running trip with Ben Kwanli.  This is the first time since they were born that we didn’t spend thanksgiving together.   I am thankful for that in a way, because Kristine promised them that we would celebrate Thanksgiving when they get back too…  oh yea, what is better than Thanksgiving?  Two of them in one week!

After paddling we met Clay’s family at the top of the hill, as they were getting ready for a photo shoot.   They told me that they just saw a full page ad in National Geographic Explorer with Clay and I in it.   I haven’t seen it yet, it is the Budweiser American Ale photo.    When I got home, Nick and I played a round of disc golf in my back yard and went to fill up our frosty mugs with my kegerator of Bud American Ale.  I got 1/2 of my mug filled up when the keg ran empty.   I remembered that I was thankful for all of the beers that came before it ran out, but luckily we had some bottles in the fridge in the basement.  The round of disc golf was fun, we both had some really good holes.   We carried some more wood up the hill on our way back as I had already lit the fire for the day and we intended to keep it going all day.   I actually had a second fire going outside, that KC helped me light in my burn hole in the backyard.   We had that one raging and I threw some big logs in that I had decided I wouldn’t be using for the fireplace.  

Kristine’s mom was already in the kitchen with Kristine and helping her cook.   Kristine commented that she didn’t feel rushed or overwhelmed and asked her mom how come when she was a kid and there were three or four cooks in the kitchen it always seemed so out of control…   I didn’t hear the answer.

Dinner was served at 3pm and as usual I take too much of each thing and run out of room long before i get to all of the different foods.   i have to eat my way down to the plate to make room for the rest.    KC had his own plate and enjoyed that alot, but didn’t eat off of it once.     Nick lead off on “giving thanks” something we do round table, just saying out loud the things we are thankful for.   I did pretty good on this one, as I usually cry the first time anyone says anything really good or touching and I made it all of the way until Lorraine this time, who was last… one comment from the endzone.    I would never had made it that far if Emily was here,  she knows my weakness and always hits it head on, as if it was a game.    I wasn’t always like that, really only the past 5 or 10 years.    It is great hearing from everyone what they are thankful for and hearing it out loud.  it reminds each of us just how lucky we are.  

We moved into the living room by the fire after dinner, but didn’t even try to eat dessert as it would have been impossible.   We’ll wait an hour or so we figured.    Kristine set up the game “scatorgories” and we played that.  

Dessert was homemade whipped cream and the pies, and Amarula (a cream liquor from South Africa that we discovered on the Zambezi).   I had the apple and it was amazing.   KC had the pumpkin and it hit the floor in once piece.  The dogs love him so much.  

Kristine worked hard on cleaning the kitchen up with Lorraine and while I would normally be doing my part, she insisted.  Nick and I went into the basement and played pinball and video games.  

By 9pm we were deciding if we could eat leftovers, as Kristine made homade bread for sandwiches, but nobody could.    Lorraine and Nick went home and we were in bed by 9:30.   I was thankful to be in bed, once again, and with my lovely bride of 21 years, who is the backbone of every holiday we have, and so much else every day.