As i sit here waiting for the dessert to cool, wondering when the heck my husband is going to get up from that toasty bed and get outside and start raking up all those leaves, I'm wondering why we give thanks only once a year? Right now I'm thankful that I have him to rake those leaves, and even more thankful that he never asks me to help. I'm also thankful for this big gray dog, who is so different from my two that have past, but loving in his own way. I'm thankful that my husband gave in and let me have a cat(i think every home should have a cat sitting in the window, it's so Norman Rockwell, isn't it?). I'm also really grateful that in a few short hours I'll be surrounded by anywhere from 25-30 people, who I love and all love me back. I often think about the people that don't have so many people to share the holidays with.It's always been this way in my family, so it never seems that weird. But when i mention the number to others, their jaws drop! I also think of members of my own family who have, for one reason or another, separated themselves from this group, and wonder if they regret not being together for Thanksgiving and what they do on this day? Because no matter what differences we have, and what opinions we don't agree with, in the end we are all family, and there's no place else I'd rather spend Thanksgiving than crammed all together at the folding table in the middle of Nonnies living room, heaps of stuffing(3 different kinds), Uncle Georges turnips, Kristins Burdock root, Mom's jello mold, Nonnies turkey, Laura's creamed cauliflower, and my Holiday Bars (just to mention a few)on my plate. And if all that wasn't enough, there's cordial hour!AH, the beloved Cordial Hour! That time right before dessert and immediately after dinner (sometimes starting with a game of Left, Right, Center) when every cordial bottle comes out of the cabinet, and Aunt Ginny actually lets us use the fancy cordial glasses that otherwise are kept under lock and key, and we sit, and sip (some shoot, i'm not going to lie, after all, there are at least 3 college kids in the group)and it is then that the stories start, and the laughter begins, and right then and there I am happier than I am all year (maybe it's the Frangelica) to be part of something so special, so personal, so heartwarming (maybe it's the Grappa). As you all enjoy your own family tradition, some not as crazy as mine, some I presume crazier, be thankful for these people in your life and these special times that get etched so vividly in your memory.