A Thanksgiving Leftover Story

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I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. If you don’t live in the United States, I hope you had a good week.

Thanksgiving has a lot of meaning for my family. Lately it’s meant something a little extra as one of the children in our house has a birthday that week. I love to share the story of how our child entered the world. Wife disputes some of what I’m going to share with you but the basic bones of the story, I think, we can all agree on.

We had been going to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving for years. This particular year it seemed like everyone was there. My brother and his wife had planned accordingly and bought the biggest turkey they could find. I don’t remember how big exactly but it was a big turkey. I was lucky. I got a drumstick. I love drumsticks.

We gathered around a table. It was a long table consisting of multiple tables one next to the other. There was stuffing. There was potatoes. There was gravy. Every vegetable imaginable. There was also turkey. Have I told you how big this turkey was?

We bowed our heads and said Grace. Following that, we proceeded to pile our plates high with the stuffing and turkey. the mashed potatoes and turkey. Corn. Yams. Gravy. I like gravy on my potatoes. I like to eat a turkey drumstick and I got one. When I was done making my plate, the tip of the drumstick was in some gravy, adding to how great this is, or is going to be.

I had the turkey in my hand. I could have used two but I wanted to keep all of the gravy on the turkey. It smelled wonderful. I was about to take a bite when I felt a tap on my arm.

“I think we need to leave,” My wife said.

It was time to go to the hospital. Of all the days. Of all the times of day. It was time to go to the hospital and welcome our first child. We got up to go. Everyone at the table wished us well. We drove to the hospital where wife was admitted. Two people went in that day. Three went out.

True story. Wife and the rest of the family dispute some of the minor details, but this is what happened.

Words of Thanks

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Pilgrims

We are celebrating Thanksgiving this year. There are a lot of things, actually everything, that is different this year. Coronapalooza means plans for everyone being disrupted. Instead of travelling to a relative’s house, we will be home. All of us: Wife, children and me will be around a table sharing a Thanksgiving meal. One will complain about having to share potatoes although there is enough to feed more than the number of people at the table. Another will complain about not being able to check his phone. You see, we have a teenager who is a secret agent for the federal government. He can’t tell us what branch or what exactly he does for fear of blowing his cover.

The Oppressed is a vegetarian. I am grateful for this because it means more turkey for me. Then again, there are three teenagers I will have to fight if I want turkey. Wife and I have stocked up on wine and beer, so after the festivities conclude, maybe we can have a drink together and enjoy a second or two without children. We will celebrate and be thankful. What are we thankful for? Plenty. I, for one, am thankful I got to coach baseball and football and got to spend more time with The Boy. The Boy is grateful there is no more games and he can go back to watching YouTube videos instead of wasting his mornings outside playing a stupid game.

I’m grateful for The Oppressed, who is healthy. Years ago, when she entered this world, she was in the NICU for a few days. She made it and now we are blessed with her unsolicited advice on how we can be better parents and constant reminders about how we only had children so we can have people do work around the house and yard.

I’m grateful for our life and house. It’s a house that is filled with children, including our Gaggle of foster children. Our life has allowed us to take in additional children. They have brought with them additional challenges such as road lessons, more school, more classes and more teacher conferences. There’s also the occasional teen melodrama from time to time, but my wife and I are able to see it through and recover just in time for the next melodramatic issue.

I’m grateful for Wife. She is constantly working long, seemingly endless hours to support us. I’m pretty sure her work schedule violates labor laws and I am glad when she can walk away from her work so we can reconnect and see what new crisis is waiting in the wings.

I’m grateful for Kitty, our fierce and wild pet who protects us from dangers outside our home. I’m grateful for her jumping on my lap and keeping me warm.

There is plenty to be grateful for and we will celebrate that this week. We will celebrate among children attacking each other, among insults and other barbs travelling across the table. I just hope the banter and rancor will stop long enough when I want another helping of something. I hope there will be a word or thought of gratitude between the shouts of, “I like your cut, G!” and the incoming slap that immediately follows. Maybe a word of thanks instead of shouting, “You’re so sus!” Maybe a word of thanks instead of the usual words we hear when one is chasing the other around a table or around the house.

I’m also grateful for you visiting. Thank you for reading. Happy thanksgiving.

Little Pilgrims

On Facebook: Drink Your Juice

On Twitter: @Greg_the_Brave

Prince of the Road

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Being a foster parent gives you numerous challenges everyday. There are things to deal with for school. There are doctor and dentist visits. Meetings with social workers. Another wrinkle being a foster parent can bring is a change in the order of milestones.

Our children range in ages from 17 to six. We will be celebrating a driver’s license before we will celebrate graduation from elementary school. We will help prepping for a high school final exam before dealing with middle school orientation. Things like these are perfectly normal for a family that doesn’t exactly do “normal”.

One of the Gaggle has their learner’s permit. This person has made Wife and I proud. They have shown initiative in their life and work. They looked for and got a job. They sought out how to get their permit and they are looking into driver’s ed.

The child and I have been out on the road getting practice and experience whenever we can. They do well most of the time. Then again, there was this one time…

I fancy myself an amateur craft beer and bourbon critic. One time nearly became a “Four-finger Night” as a neighbor likes to say. We were driving around town. The Gaggle had a few rounds behind the wheel under their belt and kept improving. We were making our way home. On our right was one of those glaring-red stop signs. Painfully obvious to me right away. Somehow, the Gaggle didn’t see it until we nearly passed it. Being the diligent person and stickler for rules, they slammed on the breaks as soon as they recognized their folly. I exclaimed an expletive and put my hands up to shield myself from the dashboard in case the seat belt didn’t work.

The Gaggle apologized. I reminded them to keep their eyes open when driving. They promised to do so and thanked me for the advice. As we continued our way, the route called for a left-hand turn. Unfortunately for our driving novice, this was one of those clearly visible streets that somehow remained hidden until you were halfway by it. Most people would continue on and make the next turn and make their way back to it. Not the Gaggle. Our driving dynamo saw the nearly passed street, slams on the brakes, and cuts the wheel for a hairpin turn that would make Vin Diesel proud. If they ever start casting for “The Fast and the Furious 17”, I think I’m signing the Gaggle up for it. Wait. They haven’t made part 17 yet. Have they?

We continue. We’re almost home, much to my relief. I think the car’s relieved, too. I instruct the Gaggle to make a turn. Maybe they were thinking about the turn they almost missed. Whatever it was, they make this one a little premature and we’re on the left side of the road, practically on someone’s front lawn. I thought I heard a mailbox scream and a lawn gnome reciting a prayer. I tell the child the laws haven’t changed and we’re still driving on the right side of the road. He apologized and literally rights the situation. We get home. He apologizes again before we get out of the car. We get inside the house. People inside ask how it went. We both say it went great. I poured a bourbon.

Daddy’s Guide to Beer

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Last week, I gave you a little glimpse of my thoughts on beer. This week, I thought I’d do a little public service and talk to you about what beers pair nicely with the type of day I’m having. As we head into the middle of November, the weather continues to decline and the temperatures continue to drop. Thanksgiving isn’t far away and Wife and I are still trying to figure out exactly how we’re going to navigate our way through it this year. Yes. Life is throwing us plenty to deal with and an evening pint is certainly appreciated from time to time. Here is what I like to reach for depending on the situation.

Ale – A little light something. Perfect for preparing dinner or cooking. A little something to take the edge off after the Homework Wars.

IPA – There’s nothing wrong with an IPA. I just need a break from the hoppiness from time to time. That doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. It is. A strong IPA can be particularly tasty, especially after a day of homeschooling.

Lager – Not too dark. Not too strong. Another great companion when working over the stove or grill. Also an ideal companion after the children come home from school and are less than motivated to get their homework done.

Stout – A nice, dark beer that’s not too strong. A stout is great at night after the Miracles of Christ have gone to bed after a day of mental anguish filled with, “Drink your juice.” “Read a page,” or, God forbid, “Write a word.” A stout almost makes you take your time with it. It makes you sit back and unwind as you sip it. Sometimes, that’s all you need. Just a couple of minutes to decompress.

Beer. I’ve earned it.

Find me on Twitter @Greg_the_Brave or check out my Facebook page:

What am I Drinking?

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I am a self-described amateur beer and bourbon critic. I like to sit down and enjoy a glass or bottle of something. Parenthood has made me enjoy this even more.

When I have a beer, I like to have something locally made. Wife and I like to support the local businesses. The local breweries are no exception to this for me. I like the local stuff and I like to drink it at the local places. Coronapalooza has made going out to places a little difficult but I can still buy something and take it home.

What do I buy? Almost anything. I like lagers, ales. I like IPA’s but only so much. Sometimes I need a break from them. I like beers with fruit in them, usually blueberries or cherries. Chocolate. Coffee? Not so much.

Hoppy beers. Strong beers. Not too strong. I have five kids and I need to be up in the morning but a good, strong porter or IPA can make a nice nightcap, especially after a long day.

I want to know about the local stuff. I want to know what people like to drink (or brew). What are people selling? I’m the guy who can talk to the people behind the counter or bar about their beer all day. I used to work at a liquor store. I could help people find something new and I got to learn a thing or two from the sales reps.

I’m a beer geek. I like to research what I’m drinking. I like to see where it came from and what went into it. Where was it made? How far is it from where I am. If I go on vacation, I look for the local stuff first. I’m on Untapped. I like to see what’s out there. I take my vices seriously.

I like to have a little something after dinner. After the kids have gone to bed and as I am unwinding after a day of homework, dishes, and maybe while I’m preparing the next installment of my parenting exploits. I call The Boy my little reason for single-malt. I sometimes remind the kids it’s too early in the day to want to drink. Like most adults. I like to have a drink. I like it the most when it accompanies conversation with other people. One of the neighbors has a bar in their basement that I like to frequent. Before Corona, my family would go to someone’s house on a weekly basis for a pot-luck. We would sit around, have dinner and a drink and relax. We’d blow off steam for a couple of hours by talking about life and our jobs and the kids and how we have ruined their lives during that particular week.

I certainly miss it and I’m sure you do, too. We didn’t light the fire pit too often this past summer. We spent too much time cooped up in the house instead of in backyards and on front porches talking to neighbors and friends. One local place even shuttered its doors due to the ‘Rona. A new group bought it and re-opened it. That’s a good story. A lot of other places throughout the country haven’t been so lucky.

Technology has allowed me to keep in touch with some of my friends. We have a beer while we talk to each other and find out how we’ve been and what we’re doing to see ourselves through this. We can’t wait for this to be over. When it is, I hope you’ll do some celebrating somewhere local. There’s a business that would certainly appreciate it.

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