I recently published a Thanksgiving poem on Associated Content, but my husband liked this one better. So, just for him, here's "Prelude to Deer Camp."
On a crisp fall Thursday morning in November,
with smells of dinner already filling the house,
we rushed around
fighting for the bathrooom, searching desperately for run-free pantyhose that fit--
No Slacks for Church!
Dad smoked his cigar in his chair
waiting quietly on the fringe of the chaos,
its gnawed stub the only indication
of his increasing urgency
we rushed back home
to put finishing touches on food,
find enough flatware,
pack our dishes and maybe a change of clothes
and back into the car we went,
off to town for the Big Family Dinner.
Aunts, uncles, cousins
flooded the church annex.
The men sat around tables with cards and smokes
while the women prepared the buffet tables,
leaving us kids the task of setting the tableware
and staying out from underfoot.
Rich cooking smells flooded the senses
finding every hidden corner of the building.
Piles of plates,
huge bowls of rolls,
platters of turkey, dressing, and every
vegetable dish known to man at that time,
each recipe carefully followed from
Betty Crocker's Cookbook
and the latest issue of Better Homes and Garden.
Dad or one of his brothers
would lead the blessing.
We ate to bursting and went back for more.
Parents in their own zone
monitoring us on the edge of their vision
before sending us off.
we put on plays and hosted
family talent shows,
played games for prizes
and sang songs and hymns
like a spontaneous angelic choir.
during the course of the day,
Dad slipped out to the car for his gear,
transferred it to the trunk of another cousin's car
and headed north to the woods for a week
while we waited at home,
hoping for fresh venison.