She couldn't help but think of the way Thanksgiving would be had that horrific incident hadn't of happened.
The house would be full. There would be three children running around, ages 10, 7 and 5. A houseful of six adults and three kids, the table leaf installed and stretched out to the max. Even then there wouldn't be enough room to accommodate their large family requiring them to add on the odd round table in addition to the oblong one that came from her grandparents.
Three women laughing and cooking in the kitchen. Chaos. A wonderfully happy chaos with the tv in the background. First a parade and then football that her sister paid attention to while making her own dressing as their mom's dressing wasn't good enough. Nothing was good enough for her sister, in fact her sister required a roast instead of turkey so they made both. The oven was overflowing with separate dishes that met everyones tastes. Her husband weaving in and out, his fingers in everything while the sisters and their mom talked wordlessly with their eyes, annoyed by his arrogance of thinking he could do better yet having to keep quiet since he did make the best gravy. Occasionally laughter would break out between the three of them, all agreeing without words that he was driving them nuts.
The crystal bowl of olives set out in what had been their grandmothers. The cranberry jelly jiggling in matching bowl, her sister using a burner to obstinately make her own homemade cranberry sauce that only she would eat but she insisted on using the precious stove space anyway.
The crowded way of setting everything on the table, the corraling of the children and getting them to sit down, each of them arguing where they wanted to sit. Calling the men to the table, having to yell at their father since he was hard of hearing and it was difficult to tear him away from the roaring fire he had built.
The tangle of elbows and hands as dishes, most of them multiples of each other, handing things around. The unusual gift her sister had of talking incessantly while eating. The way she and her sister made each of their children's plates differently as each of the three kids ate different things. The talking of how stuffed each of them were after dinner yet still managing to eat pie. The stack of Black Friday ads that were looked at and the conversation back and forth of whether to go or not to the stores. Depending on their manic state she and her sister would mutually decide whether or not to go and battle the crowds. They would eventually, one Thanksgiving, decide to give it a go, considering it a once in a lifetime thing they had to do. They didn't even think twice of leaving the kids with their mom.
She couldn't help but think of how this was supposed to be their present.
Most of it erased.
Yet still thankful for what was left.