Well, I thought Thanksgiving was going to be a complete washout. I worked it up so big in my head I though for sure I’d spend the day in the fetal position, curled on the couch, box of tissues by my side, eating nothing but a turkey sandwich from Subway. You see, this was my first Thanksgiving without my Grandmother. And after all, we all came together, and celebrated, and laughed and drank and were the essence of family, year after year, because of her. She was the glue that held us together.She was the reason we went to that old house and squeezed into the picnic table set up in the living room, she was what we were most thankful for. The one that told us in her very “Nonnie” way, to let the ill feelings we may have toward each other go. To enjoy each others company, after all, most importantly, we were family. This year, I didn’t want to join the others at the same house where I’ve spent every Thanksgiving for the past (GULP) 48 years. I wasn’t ready to do that, and thank God my husband didn’t push (my sister did, urging me to just come, saying if it got awkward we could leave, but my husband didn’t). He understood. We went out the night before to see a great band and pretended we were college kids home from our first semester away, out on the biggest party night of the year. Thanksgiving was spent at home, but instead of feeling sad, I cook a little turkey, some stuffing, potatoes, corn, and biscuits. It was delightful, not having to rush anywhere, not having to wonder if I was going to get a piece of turkey skin, or if the stuffing was going to give me integration, or who was drinking and who was driving, and if the choice of dessert was a good one. We didn’t have to rush home to our dogs, because they were right there with us. We both drank, and there was an apple pie for him and a coconut custard for me, complete with honey vanilla ice cream. I did miss her, a lot that day, and the days that followed, as I spent time with family, doing things that I know she would have loved. The tree lighting at Uncle George & Aunt Margaret’s house, with all the kids running around, making a ruckus. And the dinner on Saturday night at my sisters house, all warm and cozy around the fireplace. I envisioned her sitting in the rocking chair, a Jack Daniels Manhattan in her hand, laughing as she told us stories we had heard a million times before. The stories i would give anything to hear just one last time. I miss you everyday, Non, and especially now, around the Holidays. And it’s the little things, like the fact that there’s no one buying me a Christmas outfit this year, that would have been done already, while Anne & Amy were visiting from Minn. we would have invaded J Crew, on a wild spending spree. The fact that Anne & Amy won’t be visiting, those days are over. And there won’t be the funny Birthday card in the mail this year, the ones that always made me laugh out loud, every year will not be delivered this year. I can’t pass a Panattone without tears welling up in my eyes. But this year, for you, I will go to NYC and see the tree, I will try and have high tea at The Plaza, I will listen to Andy Williams Christmas Album, and I will go to mass, possibly with my father, and remember all the Holidays that have passed that I hold in my heart. And I will not cry, because I can still see the look on your face when that happened. I will pick my chin up off the ground and have a Happy Holiday, I promise!