I enjoyed the time with Grace as much as I expected to, but we all missed Luke far away in the frozen north. Grace and I spoke with him on the phone for a long time Monday evening. He assured us he’d be fine hanging out with friends and their family. Wednesday afternoon the rest of us headed to my parents’ house in Dallas, arriving in time for dinner.
Around 11:00 PM, George, Grace, and I were chatting in what used to be my playroom when I was a little girl. I’d already changed into my PJs, and my folks were in bed. The doorbell rang.
My first reaction was fear. Who rings the doorbell at 11:00? But George just grinned. “Time for your next surprise!” This one was for Grace, too.
George opened the door, and in bounded a very hairy Luke. He crushed us all with hugs, and we marveled over his bushy red beard and bulging muscles. But I would have stared even if he’d looked exactly as he had the last time I saw him at Grace’s graduation in early June. Luke was home! He’d driven fifteen hours from Chicago. His arrival meant our whole family would spend Thanksgiving together for the first time since Grace left for college in 2001.
I’m sure many of you spent the holiday counting your blessings, but I doubt anyone felt more grateful than I did gazing at my beloveds, listening to their beautiful music, and laughing at their sillinesses.
Now they’ve gone away again, but the joy of having them near lingers like the fragrance of fresh-baked pumpkin pie. It echoes like the music of their voices still ringing in my happy, thankful heart.