Bathrobes all around. Jack explained later, that Ellie aside, the only mystery really lay in what the color schemes would be.
“The same present every year? That’s not normal.” Beth was putting the finishing touches on the salad, and Jack followed her out to the table with a gravy boat.
“No, but it’s tradition,” Jack said. “Granna is real big on tradition.”
They took their seats, and Granna Nellis put her hands up, just above the level of the table. The rest of the Jacobs joined hands, Beth giving Jack a startled look. He squeezed her hand reassuringly.
“We are all thankful this holiday, to have such a fine feast at this table. We are all very thankful for health, and family. Well, most of us.”
Jack winced as Beth squeezed his hand.
“I am thankful to be sharing this wonderful dinner with my daughter, her husband, and their wonderful children.” She looked to her right, at Jack’s father.
He cleared his throat. “I am very thankful for my family, for my kids, who are working their very hardest at school and here at home. For my loving wife, who keeps this house running, and who is very generous both here at home, and in the community. And I am grateful for our new neighbors, who have brought us some interesting times.”
Beth sank a little in her seat as Granna shifted her eyes to look at the girl.
“I am thankful for a home and family that are very warm and generous,” Jack’s mother said. “I am thankful for distant family come close this holiday season, and to be family for one who’s is now distant.”
“Jack, it’s your turn,” Beth whispered.
Jack thought for a bit. “I am thankful… um, to have such great parents, who don’t get too mad at me when I get in trouble. And for…. sisters who aren’t too big a pain. Most of the time. I am thankful that I have this great house to live in and food on the table when a lot of people don’t.” He looked to his right. “And I’m thankful to be able to share all this with a friend.”
Jack thought he heard his mother sniffle.
“You’re up, Beth.”
“I’m thankful for… for everything that you all have done for me. I… Thank you, Margaret, and Bill, for opening your home to me, and sharing all this with me. Ellie, for helping me to smile when I don’t always feel like it. Charlotte, Hannah, for being like the sisters I don’t have. And Jack. You don’t give up on me. And I’m thankful for that.”
“Beth, your mascara is going to run,” Hannah muttered from across the table.
Beth squeezed Ellie’s hand.
“OOh. My turn! I’m thankful for Mom and Dad ‘cause they do all the cooking and working. And Jack ‘cause he made me the costume that won first place at Halloween. And Beth ‘cause she used to come play with the ponies with me in my dreams even though she doesn’t do that any more since Halloween. Oh! And Hannah ‘cause she lets me practice with her makeup!”
“Hey, what about me?” Charlotte asked.
Ellie just stuck her tongue out.
“Well,” Hannah said, “I am thankful for a mom and dad who both work very hard so that we can have great meals like this. I am thankful for sisters who aren’t too loud when I’m trying to sleep, and who aren’t too mad when I come in late and disturb theirs.
“I’m thankful for a little brother who is so talented that he gets to go show off his work at a gallery in the state capital next month. And I am also thankful that he finally has a friend, so he doesn’t spend all his time moping around the house.”
Charlotte cleared her throat. “I guess I’m thankful for a pretty good family. Even an ungrateful little sister. Um, oh yeah. And for the company, who I guess you could say is our own little ray of sunshine.” She smirked as Beth blushed.
“And now, I would be most thankful if you would all pass your plates down so I can get started carving this wonderful bird,” Jack’s father said.