It was a small Thanksgiving for the Parlin clan this year. Only 20 of us made it. With the possibility of 50,it was a small group that gathered.
Sisters Peggy, Mary Jo and Kathy didn’t make it and neither did brother Tim.
And they were missed.
But I figured out today who was really missing and that was Dad.
It’s been 17 years since Dad’s last Thanksgiving and it’s hard not to think of him at this time of year because it was his favorite holiday. No presents to squabble over and no tears shed when the right game or six-gun failed to materialize.
No, Thanksgiving — at least for Dad — is all about taking stock. As he stood poised to carve the turkey, he could look out over the sea of his descendants and pronounce himself well pleased. Having lost his father when he was little, my own dad always craved family and was happiest when surrounded by all of us.
He worried we wouldn’t stay close and have to laugh at that thought, especially at Christmastime when 50 of us crowd into my sister Kathy’s basement, which her husband kindly fixed up for entertaining. It’s beyond understanding how one house could hold our extended clan, but Kathy’s does.
But this Christmas will also be melancholy because it will be the last in Kathy’s basement. Her husband got a job in Texas and Kathy and the kids will be joining him at the end of the school year.
Yes, Parlins will still gather together and cram themselves in wherever they may fit, but it would make Dad sad to see one of his offspring moving so far away.
I can just hear him saying, “I told you to stay close,” and Kathy answering back, “we don’t want to move but we have to.”
So, the turkey was good, Dad, but not as good as when you were carving it. The cinnamon apples were delicious, Mom, and were a reminder of Dad saying, “Rita, another delicious meal.”
I’m looking forward to more delicious meals and no matter how crowded the table, somewhere in the mix, Dad is there, happy that we have all stayed close.