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November 19, 2010
In the gardens out back and in front, last-minute roses rebloom, in greater numbers this year than last. I suppose it's the warmer temperatures, although today it's downright chilly. The leaves have been a bit confused, too, not sure whether to obey the temperature signals or those offered by the change in the light -- we are not the only species taken aback by the return of standard time, I guess.

I have told Wyatt that there will be a leaf hunt, and I think we can offer a palette beyond brown and brown and more brown: although most of the trees are almost bare, the carpet underfoot is still bright. Whatever color they end up being by Thursday, we can always rake them into piles and let him jump into them, as his mother and aunt used to love to do when they were little. If he brings his scooter, he can show Q how fast he goes on it in the church parking lot across the street, how he pushes off and then coasts, one leg extended in a surprisingly graceful arabesque. But I think his dad should chaperone them: that boy can scoot. He's too fast, even for Q, who is too fast for me.

I have told him that there will be four kinds of pie: lemon, apple, pumpkin and chocolate. In reality, there will be five -- Wyatt is allergic to nuts, and so we must put the pecan pie in solitary confinement. I am wondering if I should not also make a mincemeat pie. Note the "should" there -- surely five pies are enough for twelve people already, without adding a sixth. But that is the way of common sense and not the way of Thanksgiving. More than enough is the way of Thanksgiving. I should definitely add mincemeat, even if Q and I are really the only ones who eat it.

I will not cook the rest of the meal: the next generation has emancipated itself from my iron rule in the kitchen, which should make the day a good deal more serene. I will set the table, which used to be their job, and then I may go into the living room and let Wyatt read to me. Or we can play outside, join the leaf hunt, maybe,. Q can play with us -- he's not needed in the kitchen, either. Let's be clear: we are more than "not needed in the kitchen": we are explicitly needed not to be in the kitchen. The actual need is for our absence.

And so we have come full circle: when we were little, we could play outside before Thanksgiving dinner once we'd set the table. Now that we are old, we can do that again. It has been a delightful run.

Someday these little ones will be parents themselves, running as fast as they can every day, just to stay in place. Someday Wyatt will preside over Thanksgiving Dinner in a future home, one that I will never see. And then, after a time, his grown children will take it from there. He will take his little grandson out to play in the leaves, to keep them both occupied, while the house fills with beautiful smells. I know, he'll say, let's go outside! I'll rake the leaves into piles and you jump in them! I used to do that at my grandparents' house on Thanksgiving!

They'll work up an appetite, I'm sure.
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital holds its fundraising walk this Saturday, and Wyatt's mommy is walking in it. Help her, if you can, to reach her goal of $1000 -- she's more than halfway there. You can sponsor her at her fundraising page at To learn more about the good work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, visit:
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