Well, it's December, which is beyond hard to believe; but, here we are and I hope you are well on your way to being ready for Christmas. First things first though, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I can honestly say that this year's Thanksgiving was the best I've had since I was a kid. It's been a long while since I've really enjoyed a Thanksgiving and this year took the cake.
Many years ago, all manner of Parker would congregate together on Thanksgiving for a big meals and lots of loud talking; but then people started getting married and having babies and long story short, it's been a hot minute since we've all spent a holiday together. Last year, my dad and my cousin Chris decided we needed to bring the tradition back and that is exactly what we did this year.
The gathering was at the home of my parents and we were slated to start at 4:00 p.m. This was a big change for our side of the family because we usually eat around noon, but I, for one welcomed the later start time as it gave me more free time that morning and early afternoon and also allowed people traveling from out of town more travel time. I got up early in the morning and rolled out my rolls and did a few other things and then got all bundled up in multiple layers and drove two miles up the mountain to the Land Trust Parking Lot.
The Land Trust sponsors a Thanksgiving morning hike every year (this was the 21st year in fact!) and I had decided that I was going to participate. For one, I needed some physical activity before spending the rest of the day eating and sitting (although the sitting part didn't really happen) and for two, I thought it would be nice to have some solitude before the chaos of the afternoon ensued. I mean, let's face it, I had no idea what the afternoon would hold and I figured I would be much better equipped to handle it after some fresh air and exercise. Thirdly, I want to get as much in as possible before my knee surgery and figured this would be a good way to get in some more exercise before I have a few weeks of not so active activity. I expected there to be maybe 10 or 20 people on the hike, but, in fact, there were 101 people and six dogs, Pippa not included. I didn't take The Pip because I figured she would be wild, I didn't want to scoop her poop (although I'm not sure if you have to) and she had just had a bath recently and I didn't want her to get gross (maybe I'll give it a try with her on another day).
The hike started was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. but was a little late getting started because everyone had to get signed in and they also gave some door prizes for the people who lived the farthest away and the youngest and oldest. The oldest was an 86 year old man and a woman who was older than 80 but younger than 85 was a close second and they both did really well on the hike. The hike went from the mountain down to three caves with a couple of stops along the way, including the old railroad bed that was used to transport people up and down the mountain in the late 1800s. In total, it took about an hour and a half and I was glad I did it. It was cold to start but after we got going, I was really warm and even shed some layers. I really enjoyed the hike and learning some more about the history of Huntsville and will definitely go on another Land Trust hike when I have the chance.
After the hike, I went back home and finished up my cooking and then laid down for a nap of sorts. I don't think I ever really got to sleep, but it was nice to lay down and take a load off for a while. I finally got up, showered and made myself presentable, finished up the food, loaded it up in the car and headed over to my parents' house.
Folks soon started trickling in and we got started with a Thanksgiving prayer a little after 4:30 p.m. In all, there were 41 people in attendance and an abundance of food. We could have fed another 20 people I think. People stayed for hours which was such a welcome change from the past when people ate and then ran out the door. We still had some folks to leave as soon as they were done eating, but most everyone else stayed and I think the last person left some time after 8:00 p.m.
I got some of the kitchen cleaned up before heading home and by the time I got home, I was worn out, and that was only the first day of a four day weekend. The rest of the weekend was just as busy and I have so much more to tell. Fingers crossed, I can find some time to write all about it because some of it will definitely make for good blogging material.