To most of us, Thanksgiving seems like a tough day to be a vegetarian. The aroma of a perfectly bronzed and roasted turkey, stuffed to the hilt with bread and celery and spices seems like it would be too difficult to pass up.
“Really, it’s no problem,” said Amanda as she sat down at the Jackson’s table for the annual feast. “I’m good with the potatoes and the salad and the bread and the vegetarian stove-top stuffing. And the pumpkin pie. Now being a vegan, that would be tough. No whipped cream on the pumpkin pie, that’s a different story.”
“Life would not be worth living,” said Brady settling into the chair next to his girlfriend.
“If anybody would have told me Brady would ever date a vegetarian, I would have told them they were insane,” said Jennifer, from her chair across the table.
“Me too,” said Brady.
“My grandma could never get her head around it,” said Amanda, laughing. “She used to say, what? You no eat meat? Ah, that’s OK! I make chicken for you!”
There was laughter from around the table at that, and then a pause as Rose took her place at the end of the table.
“I propose,” she said, “that before we eat we take a moment and each say one thing we’re thankful for from the past year. Why don’t you go first Jenn?” she added.
“Aw, why me?” Jennifer started to say but then changed her mind. “I know,” she said. “I’m glad Brady moved back out here from the city and I’m glad he brought Amanda with him.”
Brady and Amanda gave each other a surprised look.
“Really?” said Brady.
“That’s so sweet,” said Amanda. “Thanks,” and she gave Jennifer a big smile.
“You’re next Randy,” said Jennifer nudging her big brother, who was in the chair next to her.
Randy gave her a grin. “I’m thankful that my little sister is a better sheep rancher than I am,” he said, “so I can stick to raising beef. And I’m thankful that Allison is going to have a little brother and that both of them have an awesome mom!” He smiled at his wife Jackie, who was sitting at his other side.
Jackie gave him a wry smile in return. “I’m thankful that it’s only three weeks till Allison gets her little brother,” she said, and then she laughed. “I sound like my grandma,” she said. “Even when I’m being thankful I’m still complaining a little!”
“You’re al lowed to complain,” said Andrew. “After eight months you are no longer expected to be cheerful about it all the time.” He paused and looked around the table.
“Too many things to name, that I’m grateful for,” he said. He looked down at little Allison who was perched on his lap and reaching for the fork that rested beside his plate. “I’m thankful for this one,” he said giving his granddaughter a squeeze.
“I think we should all be proud that this family could come up with something as beautiful as her.” Allison got a hold on the fork and twisted her head back to look at Andrew. She raised the fork to point it at him, nearly poking his eye.
“Papa,” she said matter-of-factly. Andrew beamed. “I rest my case,” he
said and turned to Amanda. “You’re up,” he said.
Amanda smiled. “Well, I’m glad Brady moved back to town,” she said, “and I’m glad he brought Amanda with him.”
Jennifer laughed. “That’s exactly what I said!”
“I know,” said Amanda. “I just couldn’t say it any better.”
“Well then,” said Brady “I’m thankful that Brady moved back to town…”
“Ha!” said Jennifer “No way Brady! You have to come up with your own!”
“OK then,” said Brady. “At the risk of shocking everybody here, I just want to say I’m thankful that I’ve lived long enough to realize what a rare thing it is to be part of a family like this. It’s awesome. Thanks guys.”
“Nice,” said Jennifer. “I should have said that.”
“Naw,” said Brady. “It was what you said that made me think of it.”
“Really?’ said Jennifer. “That’s cool.” “The gravy’s gonna get cold,” said Randy.
“I’m just saying.”
“Your turn honey,” said Andrew looking
at his wife across the table. Rose looked around the table at them all.
She smiled and wiped a tear from her eye. “I am thankful for the six people with me at this table,” she said, “who have made all my dreams come true.”
There was a moment of silence, and then…
“Amen,” said five of the other people. “Eat now?” said Allison.
Catch Rollin Penner and the Traveling Medicine Show on the first Saturday of every
month at Sam’s Place in Winnipeg. Visit www.thetravelingmedicineshow.com for details.