Come Let Us Gather {Spin Cycle}

This fall has been beautiful. We have had clear, sunny days along with warm temperatures. Except for the sun setting earlier, it seemed like this fall was an extension of summer. Until, of course, the weekend that we were expecting guests. Every fall, my dad’s extended family gets together somewhere. I use that broad term, “somewhere,” because we are scattered all over the country. One year, the family met on the East Coast. The next year, they went to the West Coast. This year, it was time to visit the Midwest.

And of course, the temperatures dropped into the sixties and the rain came. Fortunately, the only thing my family wants to do is be together, talk and play cards, so the rain was just a little thing.

When I was a little girl, we always were together on the day after Thanksgiving. My dad and my uncles were pastors, so they had to work on Thanksgiving morning. My dad would preach at church and then we would get in the car to drive to Detroit, or Ft. Wayne, or Canton, Ohio. Every few years it was our turn, so we didn’t have to travel. One of my mom’s favorite times was Thanksgiving night–the night before the big meal. All my aunts would gather in the kitchen to cook and talk. It was a lot of work to feed all us children; when my little sister was born, that made twenty cousins in all. Our parents had no money to stay in hotels, so we slept on the floor in our cousins’ rooms, in the basement, even once in the church next door. On Friday came the big turkey feast! It was a day late, but it was still Thanksgiving to us.

Many years later, Thanksgiving became complicated. Cousins got married and had children, and there were more and more obligations to fulfill. Now, we have “Pre-Thanksgiving.” It’s like Thanksgiving, but it’s not. The cousins can afford to stay at a hotel and the kids don’t have to sleep on the floor. There is no cooking the night before. This year, I even decided that I was not going to serve turkey. I had the dinner catered with authentic Chicago-style food; Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza, pasta, and Italian beef.

Some of our relatives were missing. Some cousins had to work; some couldn’t travel so far away. We missed my mom and two uncles who have gone to heaven before us. However, a total of forty-one relatives crammed into my kitchen last Saturday. We were together despite the rain outside, despite my husband’s fears that we wouldn’t all fit in our house, despite my ugly bathroom floors. (That’s another story waiting to be told.)

I remember being one of the little cousins and going along with a “show” that we performed for our parents a long, long time ago in a basement in Ft. Wayne. At the very beginning of the festivities his year, my daughters and my cousins’ kids put on a show of their own. They stood on the steps, plucked a toy guitar and sang their hearts out. They were making their own wonderful childhood memories.

show on steps

It might not have been Thanksgiving, but it was still Thanksgiving to us. We give thanks for the blessings God gave us in family; in good weather and bad, in health and in sickness, with those present and in the hearts of those absent, and we know we are loved.

Oh, and did I mention this, family? While playing cards, I got the best 500 hand in my life! Ten diamonds, baby!


Add your own fall link, read other fall stories, and spread the word about the Spin Cycle on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #SpinCycle! Gretchen and I will reveal next week’s Spin Cycle topic on Monday.

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Second Blooming

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MOAM sale


Where Are the Pumpkins?

We had a day off from school at the end of September, and my original plan was to take Lily and Emmy apple picking. We had so much fun apple picking last year, but when I checked around, many apple orchards in our area did not have apple picking available. Due to the strange Spring we had and then the summer drought, apple orchards did not have a good season.

I decided that we should take a trip to the pumpkin farm instead! We arrived shortly after the farm opened, and there was already a line to get in. The girls went to play among the pumpkins that were laying in neat rows just beyond the entrance, and I was itching to get out my camera and take pictures of them. I couldn’t lose my place in line, however, or we’d have to go to the end and start all over. I could take pictures of them playing in the pumpkins later.

Wristbands finally bought, we entered the farm.

Frog Jump!

First things first; we had use of our wrist bands until 1:00, so we were going to take advantage of them! Lily and Emmy went on every ride they could, and on some of them twice.

No pumpkin pictures yet.

Lily picked the motorcycle; Emmy’s driving the Mustang!

Still no pumpkin pictures.

Big Rig Girls

Still no pumpkin pictures.


I thought the tractor would take us to the pumpkin patch. I was wrong. We went into the cornfield and saw a plethora of skeletons.

Still no pumpkin pictures.

These prisoners were held a tad too long in the County Jail.

And then there was the petting zoo and the art booth and then we were starving, so we had to eat some lunch. By this time I was ready to pick out our pumpkins for heaven’s sakes so we could go home already! We grabbed our wagon, headed out to the pumpkins, and Lily and Emmy each picked out two. I had major picture-taking-fatigue. The camera stayed in my purse as I finagled two tired girls and four pumpkins to the mini-van. Wait! We forgot to pick up our art projects! Back to the art booth, then finally…to the van!

Pumpkin Picture!

Over two weeks later, I finally got around to taking a picture of The Pumpkins. Not quite the way I imagined, with the girls frolicking among the bright orange pumpkin patch on a sunny day, but it’s the best I can do.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming

Linking up with Mama Kat for PUMPKINS! and with Gretchen for AUTUMNAL!