We went to a wonderful large family gathering up north for Thanksgiving last year, but we usually don’t.

Generally, it’s just the two of us. We like it that way. My husband takes his time creating a feast for two. I’d set out a few wooden Thanksgiving ornaments we’ve had for years, and clean the guest room in preparation for my nieces and nephew coming to visit over the weekend when they were young.

Fairly early in the morning my husband and I would probably walk the dead end gravel roads by our place, admiring the neighbor’s horses from the top of the hill by a big cottonwood tree. We might gaze upon an unreachable tangle of bittersweet.

There’s a good chance I’d be wearing a cap a friend gave me with an embroidered geographical depiction of some east coast shoreline — near where her ancestors, the Pilgrims, landed.

At some point I’d probably play “Now Thank We All Our God” on the piano downstairs by the gas fireplace.

I remember one Thanksgiving where it snowed like feathers being dumped out if a pillow. A friend a couple blocks away and I took a long walk when it settled down. We’d both had travel plans that had to be scrapped. I heard more about this guy she’d met, who turned out to be my husband a couple years later.

Some years when I’d get tired of cleaning the house, maybe hadn’t put the clean sheets on the bed yet, and we’d probably laughed at some real-time commentary about turkey cooking complications on public radio, I’d sit on the back steps and crack black walnuts. A tough nut to crack.

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The previous owner had such trees planted along the driveway. They’re some of the last to leaf out in the spring and first to drop leaves in the fall. I do like the way they arch over the lane way.

There weren’t any walnuts on the trees this year. It’s not the first time they’ve skipped production. We don’t mind the lack of shrapnel on the driveway.

I’m grateful for such memories.

I’m also grateful for dear friends who received excellent care for cancers that were unknown to them at the start of this pandemic. I’m grateful for old friends who reached out when they lost a parent during the pandemic. And I’m grateful for elusive yearnings yet to be made manifest.