So Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving Day, a very typical day to be thankful in this country, and we have many things daily to be thankful for. But that it not why I am thankful today. In fact, today I am just plain downright grateful to God. Let me start at the beginning, and you’ll see why…

So here around the Schenanigans Suburban Homestead, we host Thanksgiving Dinner every year, and LOVE it! Girlchild is giddy for days leading up to the “feast”, as she calls it (and she’s not a giddy girl), and can not wait to host people in her home. She’s always been that way. The Macy’s Day Parade is just icing on her already sparkling cake, and throw in the fact that I let her do her perler bead projects on my bed whilst watcing, and she was one happy camper.

Manchild has not quite found the thrill of the Parade tradition. After about 15 minutes, wandered off to take advantage of my happy-but-busy attitude in order  to commandeer my laptop and watch Netflix. Manchild was recently informed that everyone must wear underwear to attend Thanksgiving dinner in this house, and is finding that chore to be putting a bit of a damper on his plans for the day. Some days, it’s hard being 4.

But my favorite part of Thanksgiving Day, between running into the room to see the new floats and cartoon balloons with Girlchild, and maintaining my carefully planned chore list in the kitchen, is the preparations. I love bustling in the kitchen with Captain Schenanigans, while he smokes our turkey in the backyard. I love the anticipation of loved ones coming over, and tasty dishes we only make once a year. The atmosphere in our home fairly snaps with eager, happy tension, as we attempt to orchestrate all the chores, food, and decorations to come together at once. Just in time for the guests. It’s tiring, but fun, and totally worth it. The only day of the year I love cooking.

This morning, as Captain Schenanigans and I are in the kitchen together, Captain suddenly bursts out saying “No, no, no, no, no!” As he breaks for the door to the deck, I see flames dancing through the leaves on the lawn in both directions from the smoker. Captain runs for the spigot to attach the garden hose.  I fill a pot in the kitchen and run out barefoot on the deck to try to contain the flames.

The smoker was positioned on the ground, by the front corner of the deck. Sparks from the smoker had fallen onto our leaf laden backyard, spread to the other side of the deck steps, and were heading towards the house. As I poured water on the flames beside the deck stairs, trying to prevent the steps from igniting, I saw flames leaping up towards my bare feet through the deck slats. By now Captain Schenanigans had begun spraying the 2 foot flames with the hose, and was working his way over to me.

“Your propane tank’s on fire!” I tell him, just in time for him to spray down the connecting hose from the smoker to the propane tank, which was nearly melted through. Oh, praise Jesus. What if he hadn’t noticed the smoke coming up from the wrong direction? What if the propane tank had exploded?  Thankfully the rabbit in the hutch next to the flames was in an exercise pen with his bunny friends, and not close enough to inhale the smoke. I will not smoke my daughter’s rabbit on Thanksgiving Day!

A melted plastic wagon and a blue plastic ball were the only things damaged apart from the smoker. We are so very, very, very thankful to God this had not been worse. By God’s grace.

So, fast forward past that near tragedy, and it’s now Pie O’clock after everyone has eaten and was starting in on dessert. I have just sat down again, when I hear a strange ruckus in the backyard. The squawks are not that of a hen bragging about laying an egg, or fussing about the cat walking too closely through the yard. The thumping, then silence could only mean one thing. A HAWK.

I put down my pie, run to the window, and find the backyard and deck (the prime chicken lounge when no one’s watching) completely deserted. Not a feathered soul in sight. Only moments earlier had my 9 girls been so happily gorged on leftovers that they stopped getting up to come when I called them with more scraps. This had never happened before. They sat in the sunbeams on the dry side of the deck, and enjoyed their food comas. Yes, to be clear, my chickens like turkey.

But my chickens weren’t there now. Instead, I opened the door just in time to see the backside of a brown hawk swooping out of our yard and back up into a neighbor’s tree. He perched on a branch and watched me. I watched him, too. But his talons were empty, so I assumed all my girls were safe. I could see 3 out of 4 bunnies, but they, too, had coverings to hide in in case of hawks.

It wasn’t until Girlchild ran out to put her bunnies away, that the hawk took off. No sense in trying to take attendance now, my hens were going to be good and hidden for quite some time. They don’t bounce back fast after hawk attacks. I’d have to count them later on to be certain they were all there. However, I did see the 2 silver-laced birds, and that was the pattern of the feathers now sprinkled on the ground where the attack must have occurred, so I think we’re in the clear. Whew. I could NOT have a hawk eating my son’s beloved Neigh-Neigh on Thanksgiving Day!

Once again, in a smaller scale, I am thankful and grateful. Crisis averted.

The evening trudged on and I went to feed a friend’s rabbits while they were away. The streets were eerily empty and there was no traffic anywhere. It was amazing. I cruised past Wal-Mart, and saw that they were the only store open. I remembered another friend told me her kids can unload the dishwasher without help because they keep a step stool in the kitchen. We definitely need a step stool! So I swung into a parking spot, entered the store, and was handed a paper Xeroxed copy of a floor plan to Wal-Mart. There were 2 police officers on duty at the door, and all the aisles were arranged into crazy, maze like patterns. There were taped-off areas, hundreds of extra staff in yellow vests, and no one was checking out. Creepy!

Then I learned that their Black Friday sale begins at 6pm, and everything was arranged to help contain the monstrous line and raging crowds that would soon be forming. I had never been in a store the celebrated Black Friday before (last year I was in Tractor Supply on Black Friday, and it was completely unremarkable). This was exciting. Was I going to get swallowed up in the crowds? Would there be mob fights? Would I receive crazy discounts on my step stool, and anything else my little heart desired? No. To all of it.

Turns out, while I did stand in line and wait to check-out for 10-15 minutes til the clock struck 6pm (and the line was getting wildly long) it was no different than my average Wal-Mart trip. And while there were great deals to be had on computers, electronics, and kids pajamas, I wasn’t buying any of those. Naturally. My interests took me to the camping section for blue enamel mugs (nada), and the crafts section for extra gifts for the kids (no sales going on there). I did manage to swipe the LAST step stool in the hardware section (seriously?), but sadly they were not on sale. Because they are step stools, not flat screened TV’s.

It was freakishly apocalyptic being in Wal-Mart at the start of the Black Friday sale. I was mildly expecting vampires to appear, and had to call Captain Schenanigans twice to update him with information about this new store environment (none of which were crucial to his present napping state).

So while I was most likely the only soul in the Wal-Mart Black Friday Sale event who did not actually get any discounts, I can walk away saying that I surfed the wave of post-turkey consumerism, and lived to tell about it. Considering the other events of the day and their near misses, I’ve got a big ole bucket of grateful right here to smooth out anything that chafes me. Those pilgrims weren’t the only ones with a much to be thankful for in this country, they just were the first to blog about it!

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