November 28, 2013: A Thanksgiving Anniversary

Thanksgiving 2009
My parents were married on Thanksgiving Day 1964. Although their anniversary rarely lands on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, it's an anniversary to remember. It was always odd to me that they chose this busy day to get married. My mom's story is that it was Grandma who thought this would be an ideal day for a wedding. A day that most family and friends would already be home so to save a trip.

Aunt Joan tells a different story. "Having a wedding on Thanksgiving was a bad idea. People wanted to be at home." Regardless, I am sure it was beautiful and those who attended had a great time.

As we talked about more recent Thanksgivings of past, I was reminded of another anniversary. Mom and Dad met Garrett for the first time four years ago on Thanksgiving Day. Although this may sound like a non-eventful anniversary; as do most things in my life, it came with twists.

Similar to this Thanksgiving which has brought me to my family in Dallas, our 2009 Thanksgiving included a trip to Denver that was conspired days before as well. Garrett and I had just started dating the month prior. Freshly divorced, I had not yet told my parents of my suitor.

Nebraska was playing Colorado in Boulder that year. As was tradition, the game was to be held on the Friday after Thanksgiving. I had secured tickets for Garrett and his kids through my contacts in Lincoln. As Garrett and I discussed how best to get the tickets in his hands pre-kick off, Garrett made a recommendation.

"Why don't you bring them to me and spend Thanksgiving in Denver?"

I didn't have my kids and my parents were soon to be in route to drive back to the Midwest. I had decided to fly to Albuquerque and make the drive back with them. Our plan for the holiday was on the road.

Garrett was persistent.

"Denver would be a good stop for you and your parents to spend the night during your road trip. I will make you all Thanksgiving dinner. I'd love to meet them."

I felt like I had my back against the wall. Garrett's invitation was very tempting. I had no good reason to say "no" other than the fact that I was too chicken to ask my parents. But knowing that I needed to be a big girl and tell them about my beau, it was time to buck it up.

So with a rapidly beating heart, I called my dad.

I am unsure of what I exactly said. But in a very round-about way, I asked if I could be in charge of our trip navigation. That I preferred to go through Denver and it had a dual purpose as I had some football tickets to deliver. And, by the way, I was dating the recipient of the tickets; who happened to live in Denver. And then I took a breath. With a slight pause, Dad responded very simply.

"Sandy, we trust you and will support you in what makes you happy. You are in charge of the map. Mom and I are just along for the ride."

With those words I took over the map and navigated us north from Albuquerque. As we walked up to Garrett's door, I felt like a school girl. Here I was in Denver, spending the night at my boyfriend's with my parents. Their first meeting.

Garrett greeted us at the door wearing only a t-shirt and a towel around his waist. He had been making the meal and cleaning the house, and just found time to shower. His Great Dane, Ajax, entertained us as Garrett finished cleaning up. The dog was as big as my parents. We got the giggles as my parents tried to figure out how to interact with the seemingly formidable dog. Welcome to Denver.

The evening was perfect. A wonderful Thanksgiving feast awaited us after the first leg of our journey. And my parents quickly concluded that Ajax was a gentle giant; as kind as his owner.

Now you know the end of the story. Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad. Thank-you for letting me be in charge of the map four years ago. I am very happy that we are celebrating together in Dallas and that Garrett flew to us this year.  

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