It’s 5:13 am, Thanksgiving 2017. I am filled with gratitude and look forward to the crowd of voices coming my way in several hours. There will be baby voices. There will be voices that have been around for more than eight decades. There will be the presence of loved ones whose breath has become air.
This is the fourth year my husband and I have hosted. We enjoy each year as there is always an important insight and life-affirming lesson waiting for us. We struggle each year with all the details and suggest this one is our last. We are clear about this – we are creating a family Thanksgiving, not a party. Yet, the bigger the family, the more it feels like a party. Still, I cringe when anyone calls it that and suspect some relatives do it just to make me cringe. I could be wrong.
Philip Burke celebrates Thanksgiving with fellow Buddhists. Can we join? I wonder.
Philip is a painter whose work is widely recognizable. His twin brother is married to my cousin, which is how we are acquainted. He gets an invitation to our Thanksgiving as we want my cousin’s husband to know we love his family, which is our family, because we are a universal family, although I’m not sure how everyone is the world will fit around our table.
I wrote a play once – Fine Arp! – in which a character briefly wished a painter dead so her painting would increase in value. This play is not about Philip (although I did use him as the artist she wished dead) and the play is not about me (although we own a Philip Burke original). I thought Philip might find the play funny. He didn’t. I needed an artist so I picked the one in closest range and it happened to be a him, a man I wish many happy fruitful years of life.
The stars are shining bright this morning outside my window and I think I see Suzanne’s sparkly smile, my Grandma’s almost-black brown eyes, Papa’s big ears, and Jody’s long brown braids of the 70’s.
It will be a perfect Thanksgiving. It always is.