Yeast rolls take center stage. They are encircled by gleaming white and brown patterned holiday dishes embellished by the joys of savory delights. Sweet potato soufflé, the infamous macaroni and cheese, succulent turkey, immaculately done roast beef (and more) sits atop the festive plates. Sweet tea is the popular choice of drink (I am the exception as I always prefer the simplicity of water). The awkward bottle of mustard sits nearest my brother, Jon Brooks, who always insists its vital importance as a complement to his brown meat. He proudly resides at the head of the small table, foreshadowing his eventual place of significance at the adult table. Twenty-four years young, he is the oldest amongst us "children," yet, he still graces us with his presence every Thanksgiving. It would seem to be a much more honorable gesture if I was able to tell you that he has a choice, but the reality is there is not enough room at the adult table for anymore bodies. However, if you were to ask him which he would choose if he did in fact have a choice, I am confident he would proudly name the kids' table as his preferred company. It is no secret... We rock.
The table is a six seater. I choose to get my gobble on two seats down from my brother. This was always strategic for me growing up, because if I sat too close to him, one of us was likely to spit in the other's gravy. Things are much more civil now, but, back in "the good ole days," our relationship was the Vietnam War. To the left of me, between my brother and I, Anna sits. She was a brilliant mediator and now, she is always there just in case history repeats itself. It never will of course. I honestly just love being next to her during the blessing. We squeeze each other's hands as tight as we can and fight the urge to laugh. We have made it a game over the years. It is especially hard when the prayer reciter stumbles on her words and Anna has to bump me because she knows I am about to lose it. With her by my side, my gravy will never be fiddled with and the blessing fun will never cease. To the right of me, on the other end of the table, little Richard, or "Buddy," as our family has always called him, gleefully enjoys his Thanksgiving meals. He is the only other male and obviously we are a family that appreciates hierarchy (blasphemy!). I am joking... He just loves sitting by his favorite cousin: me. Next to him, Katie Bird perches on her chair. Her name is not actually Katie "Bird," but somehow our family came to call her that. We love Katie Bird. Lastly, between Katie and my brother, my adored Uncle Ches has always sat and enjoy the lighthearted chat of our table. He is much older, but he is a true big kid and we just love him.
The kids' table--it is a wonderful story and a warm place. It is a whole other world, independent of the adult table. We call it the kids' table, but not one of us will ever outgrow it. We love it because it is an easy space. There are no politics. There is no talk about current topics of the media. There is simply nothing but laughter and love. I think adult tables should be more like kids' tables. Then, perhaps, the kids will actually want to grow up... Just a thought.