There will always be laughs and comic relief is always lurking around the corner when family gets together and this past Thanksgiving down in Menlo Park was no exception. The fun and games actually started when the garage door opened slightly and we heard Arnie’s voice tell us to use the front door. It took less than thirty seconds for the profanity to be shared (in a good way) and we all knew this particular visit had all the signs of a tremendous visit. ¶ Cindy’s new place is as tremendous as her previous home down there and with fifteen or so expected guests to prepare for she was in good company with her dad there in the kitchen, me at the bar and the girls doing their thing. ¶ The Thanksgiving Day parade was on the television and the bloody mary mix I had prepared the afternoon before was already making the rounds. I learned something from a buddy of mine earlier in the week on a twist regarding your particular bloody mary recipe and it worked out just fine. Sprinkling cayenne pepper on the ice in the glass before you build your bloody creates a wonderful add-on and as you chew the ice (if you do) you’ll be treated to a little “something” extra during the course of your drink. Nice touch and I’m glad I listened to my buddy back east because it worked out wonderfully. ¶ Cindy had enough booze in the house to float a large fishing vessel but we did have to make a b-double e-double r-un to the local grocer before the guests started to arrive and once the cooler was full it was “game on” and there it began – the Thanksgiving bash of the year; friends, family, her colleagues from work and all the football the NFL could offer including the PATRIOTS/Jets game later in the evening. PERFECT. ¶ Cindy’s colleagues are all wonderful people from all corners of the globe to include the Ukraine, Serbia, and Germany. I was not sure what they understood from the game of the football, but one thing was clear – the bloke with the Patriots hat on certainly understood the game – and perhaps a bit more serious than the others. Fortunately the PATRIOTS went into the Meadowlands and ended the Jets season and that was certainly the “thanks” I was looking for with regards to the game. ¶ Cousin Arnie made a 22 lb turkey, coupled with a prime rib roast and enough chopped liver to satisfy everyone’s daily fiber intake. ¶ The food, the environment, the noise level and the sleeping arrangements made for one hell of a get together and we’re so thankful for the invitation to join them each year. Working the kitchen with Arnie is a godsend – there’s nothing he can’t do in the kitchen and just being with him and his wonderful wife Micki, daughter Cindy and their granddaughter Giovanna gives us that holiday hug we all need from time to time. There were certainly tons of hugs throughout the weekend which did Bonnie a world of good as well. ¶ For an added dimension to the weekend, Arnie and Micki digitized hundreds of projector slides onto a DVD which provided some outlandish laughter of days gone by from the 60’s ,70’s and 80’s which gave Logan an opportunity to see her grandmother from her mother’s side for the first time. Great stuff all the way around – we had so much fun we decided to extend our stay down there by a day to enjoy their company while we can. ¶ The drive home yesterday got us into the house thirty or so minutes before the final game of the season between the University of Notre Dame and the University of Southern California … this has been one hell of a season for Notre Dame and we’ve watched every game with piqued interest and to be home on the couch watching them finish the season undefeated was a perfect way to end the weekend. The Patriots won, Notre Dame won, the University of South Carolina defeated Clemson University and to top things off … the high school Bonnie and I both attended finished their season 12-0 by beating our arch rivals in Salem (Witches) on Thanksgiving day … a plethora of pigskin accomplishments! But when it’s all said and done, the hugs of the weekend is what made this particular Thanksgiving Holiday a very special one indeed. Thank you Cindy, thank you Arnie, thank you Micki and thank you Giovanna for opening your home and allowing that little bit of comic relief through your front door. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!