Up until a few years ago, we had Thanksgiving dinner at my paternal grandparent's home. My grandfather would make a big long table out of plywood and saw horses in the livingroom and we'd all squeeze in and stuff ourselves on the buffet of turkey, dirty rice, sweet potatoes, corn, broccoli and sometimes even ham and baked macaroni. Then there was dessert, homemade pecan pie and jell-o cake (my grandmother's specialty). Several years ago, my grandmother began to suffer symptoms of dementia/alzheimer's and all the commotion of having us there cooking and moving about became too much for her, so we moved the dinner to my parent's home. We had to squeeze in even tighter as many of us were bigger, and there were more of us, and my parent's home was much smaller. To accomodate us, my dad brought the plywood/saw horse tables from my grandfather and set them up in our garage, which was essentially the kids table (even though us kids were in our 20s and 30s)...oh, and I had to start making the jell-o cake.
This year, I also made low carb pumkin pie and two kinds of sweet pototes, as well. We also had a change of venue. Since my parent's home was flooded by Hurricane Katrina and is still uninhabitable, and none of our homes are really suitable for hosting large numbers of people, my youngest brother opened up the restaurant he manages (The Rock...which was closed that day) for us. He and his wife went early and set up a long row of tables so we could all sit together and pulled the big screen tv right at the head of the table so the men could watch the game.
Other than the change of scenery, and quite a few less people (many of our relatives who normally come in couldn't find a place to stay), it was a pretty typical Gaspard Family Thanksgiving. Football was going, food was plentiful and my brother Brad, my cousin Christopher and myself had our annual sarcasm competition. One thing that is different is that we now have a third generation present, which is both a joy and kinda weird. At one point, the thought of my brothers and cousins procreating was horrifying to me, now it is just another thing to get used to and be thankful for. In fact, it is hard to remember what things were like before all these little ones were with us...or what we did to entertain ourselves. I mean, that is besides insulting each other and making jokes at another's expense.
Truth be told...we still do that, there are just longer breaks between insults and jokes now on account of watching, laughing, napping, playing with and otherwise being distracted by the third generation of Gaspards.
The other big, noteworthy Thanksgiving event was my brother Joey making it in. He moved to Tennessee in August and this is the longest we have been apart in our lives. Its been hard...and was so nice to have him home. He was only in for 2 days, but we got some good quality time in. He slept at my place Wednesday night...which was nice. Though, leaving him alone with the kids turned out to be not such a good idea. At one point, our nearly 3 year old niece, Kira, decided she was thirsty and went to the fridge to ge a drink. The jell-o cake was in her way, and as she pushed it aside, it fell to the floor. Thankfully, it was covered, so it didn't get completely ruined, just broken up. So, rather than the usual, cool whip iced cake, we had deconstructed jell-o cake with self-serve cool whip. It still tasted good, but to make it up to my brothers, I made a new cake this morning for them to have the old-fashioned and all together way.
Joey didn't get to partake though, as he is now back in Tennessee. He has called every day since he's been gone and I have a feeling he won't be in Tennessee much longer...maybe it is wishful thinking. But, I have a suspicion that he won't be able to stay away from his niece's for very long. Both girls absolutely adore their uncle Joey. Last night, I was looking at pictures from Thanksgiving on my computer with Kira and came upon this one...
She looked at it and said "That's Uncle Joey! He loves me!" If he had been there, I know he would have gotten all choked up...and maybe cancelled his flight home? Maybe I should e-mail that story to him and hope for the best?!?