Thanksgiving was restful – and loud.

We had company for the holiday – my aunt, uncle and cousin – traveled from eastern New York – Schenectady to be more exact. Normally when I’m hosting the holiday, Dad and I travel to the turkey farm a few days prior to pick up a large turkey breast. (Basically a full size turkey that has had the wings and legs removed.)

However, this year my aunt suggested I relax. Instead of cooking enough food we could feed an army, we could go out to eat instead. It’s a good thing that I know they like my cooking or such a suggestion could be construed as a nice way of saying “please, don’t make us eat your cooking.”

But it wasn’t what or how I cook such holiday fare, but the amount of food that we have. As we’ve gotten older those plates heaping with traditional Thanksgiving fare are enough. Eating repeats of the Thanksgiving meal wasn’t really a boon to them.

So the suggestion of going out to eat where there is a single plate of food and no leftovers to worry about ... or dishes to do ... seemed like a great idea.

Dad and I just had to determine where we would take our guests for their Thanksgiving feast. No pressure at all.

We decided to eat at Crackerbarrel. The forecast called for beautiful weather – perfect for a car ride.

The timing of the meal was an easy decision as well.

One of my brothers and his family wanted to stop for a visit late in the afternoon. So an early holiday dinner it would be.

Factoring in travel time, we planned to arrive at the restaurant by 11:30 a.m., hopefully beating or at least being at the beginning of what was sure to be a ever increasing luncheon crowd.

We had a relaxing trip down, listening to Christmas carols along the way. It was a peaceful trip, without any mishaps. Then we arrived at the restaurant...

All I can figure is that a lot of people wanted Thanksgiving turkey at 10 a.m. because the parking lot was full and people were filling the aisles of the gift shop area as they waited for their party to be called for a table. Undaunted we placed our name with the hostess and joined the throngs of people waiting to be called.

The overall buzz of conversations didn’t really seem that loud. We were likely blocking it out as we squeezed past people to check out this knick-knack or that. Well, I should say my aunt, cousin and I made our way around the g. Dad and his brother stayed in one location, having no desire to traverse through the crowd unless it was on the way to the table.

It was after we were seated and trying to converse that the noise level was more apparent – much more apparent. The meal was excellent but a lower volume of sound would have made for a more peaceful meal. I think we all were glad to be back in the quiet of the car on our way home. Or maybe it was the well-fed stomaches and warm sunshine streaming through the car windows that caused the restful atmosphere. While no one nodded off to sleep, I think if the journey had been any longer that would not have been the case.

Once home, they guys took themselves off to watch old-time westerns on TV while my aunt kept me company in the kitchen. I was making a batch of dough for homemade buns. I mean, what is Thanksgiving without homemade buns and pie, at the very least. The pies – apple, pumpkin and mincemeat – had been made the day before so buns were the only item left to make.

Peace ensued until my brother and sister-in-law arrived bearing leftover turkey and all the trimmings as well as pumpkin and nut pies and cranberry relish (yes, with real cranberries, oranges and nuts). We sent them home with some homemade buns hot from the oven and then made ourselves turkey sandwiches for supper.

Now, when my aunt and uncle visit us or we travel to their house, we spend a lot of time together playing a dice game. It’s a simple game called Frackle that we found in the games section at Walmart. The goal is to get to 10,000 or more in points. One gains points by rolling the dice. Three numbers alike are worth varying amounts depending on the dice number (three dice with three dots are 300 whereas three dice with five dots are 500), a straight is worth 1500 and so on. The two best rolls are two sets of three dice and all six dice with the same number of dots.

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