Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Am Thankful For Charlie

So I just wanted to share my favorite Thanksgiving story with you all. And don't worry - it won't require anybody to go searching for the Kleenex box to dab away sentimental tears.

Several years ago, my family and I were spending Thanksgiving with my parents and siblings. I grew up in a family of six children, so when gathered at Mom and Dad's home with all of our spouses and kids, we were a real mob. And I mean that in the best possible way, guys. We filled up that house to the rafters with our kids and stuff and some of us even brought along our pets.

The Thanksgiving table was groaning with the weight of a fantastic meal. Even though my mom has always been an exceptional cook, that year she had truly outdone herself. The turkey, golden brown and looking exactly like a Butterball commercial, steaming creamy mashed potatoes, velvety gravy, and all the other mouth watering side dishes were arranged enticingly on my grandmothers massive antique oak trestle table. It looked and smelled unbelievably delicious, but before we sat down to eat, my mother wanted us all to gather in a large circle in the living room and hold hands. She instructed us all to take turns expressing something for which we were particularly thankful for, and began by voicing her sincere gratitude to God for giving her ....... well, us. It was a really sweet and loving sentiment.

By chance, my place in the circle was the only spot that provided a clear view of the dining room and our waiting feast, and I have to be truthful here. I found myself looking longingly at those mashed potatoes instead of listening to everyone's expressions of gratefulness. I estimated that I had at least a full ten minutes of thankfulness to suffer through before I could grab my plate. Bad Julia....bad bad girl.....

One of my sisters had brought along her basset hound, Charlie, who in spite of having inherited those stubby little basset legs and huge ears that grazed the floor, was pretty lively. He also possessed that great sense of smell that most bassets are famous for. Charlie could tell that there was an amazing array of goodies up on that dining room table, even though he was only knee-high. As the litany of thankfulness progressed in the living room, I could see Charlie circling the table, his nose frantically snuffling all those delicious aromas.

What happened next was, I suppose, inevitable. Charlie took a flying leap, levitated over the dining room table with long ears extended in a Dumbo-esque silhouette, and while mid-flight expertly snatched an entire loaf of warm home made bread. He landed with a thud, hitting the floor on the other side of the table chomping wildly, bread crumbs flying. As he scrambled into the kitchen with his prize, I couldn't believe what I had just seen.

I glanced around our family circle. Everyone else appeared thoughtful and thankful and apparently hadn't noticed the larcenous Charlie dog. Which brought a dilemma to light: Should I interrupt this lovely family moment to bring this to the attention of the group in case the dog came back for the turkey? I was willing to sacrifice the bread, but really......I wasn't about to share my hunk of that beautiful bird with a basset hound. *Snicker. Mmfff*. I tried my best to muffle my very irreverent giggling, really I did. I mean, it was such a special and thankful and thoughtful experience, with everyone gathered round with hands clasped together. *Snork* My shoulders shook as I tried very unsuccessfully to regain my thoughtful and thankful composure.

My mother looked at me from across the room, and completely misinterpreted my heaving shoulders and facial contortions. As the thoughtfulness and thankfulness ended, she quickly came to my side and hugged me, thinking that I had been moved to tears by the wonderful sentiment expressed by all instead of my attempts to stifle hysterical laughter.

I couldn't speak, I was so far gone. Instead, I snorted and guffawed and pointed helplessly at the table and the canine culprit, who had left an incriminating trail of bread shrapnel and was plotting his next move for a second course.

Ahhh.........I still chortle when I remember that particular Thanksgiving......what a great dog. All these years later, when I count my blessings and reminisce about my favorite holiday memories, I still remember Charlie the basset hound, may he rest in peace. I hope this Thanksgiving he actually scores a turkey, wherever he may be.

Thanks, Charlie.

Basset image found here.

1 comment:

annie said...

To all our friends south of the border, a very happy thanksgiving.Please excuse the earlier rant!!