It was about this time last year that I threw some stuff into a backpack and a small suitcase and aimed my car toward Minnesota. My brother,Rick, was in the VA hospital and not expected to live long. I won't say how long it took to get there, but it was way faster that what the trip-tik said. I spent a week there, he rallied and we had a belated birthday party for him. His work and cop buddies came by- I was the surprise...Rick had always talked about searching for his family, he knew he had a sister out there. I on the other hand, only knew there was a missing sibling- I had no idea who I was searching for. Watching their faces was priceless, as we cracked jokes or groused about something-they began to chuckle and shake their heads..."Boy can you tell you two are related." was a popular line.
Now and then he would do something, and I had to stifle a laugh because it was a 'mom move', some mannerism that had her name all over it. He sent his daughter to get a special present for my sister-in-law and gave it to her at his birthday- an inscribed heart locket. One of the lines was "I love you more." He laughed and joked and had the nurses cracking up. That was also the beginning of the end. As I drove home through the UP I was totally lost in thought until the moose stepped out of the trees. She was huge, and I drive a small car- I found the brakes fast. Next to her stood a pair of calves...well for a split second, then they romping all around the small stand of trees. They made me laugh & I needed that wake up call on two fronts, one was obvious-pay attention dumb ass. The other, was don't forget to laugh. Rick laughed often, a joker, a prankster. He lost his battle with agent orange on Dec. 15th. and I made that trip again. I came back just a couple days before Christmas, still numb.
On my return trip I was thinking about that moose family when the blue lights started flashing. The State Trooper's first words were not "do you have any clue how fast you were going?" They were "are you okay?" I ended up telling him about Rick & he in turn lectured me about driving too fast and thanking me for my service to our country as well as Rick's. He told me where the next gas station with decent coffee was and sent me on my way.
So the point to this is, when I list the things I am thankful for this year, it will include those days with my brother. I'm thankful that after everything, I can still find humor in things that mystify others, thankful for the family and friends still with us, thankful for the moose and the cop who didn't give me a ticket but instead gave me some of his time. Happy Thanksgiving.
OH! Yeah, if you need a good last minute dish for the vast array of parties and dinners, I love this one and it's so stinkin easy. It's my (in)famous Candy bar salad. (I'm southern- we see food differently)
2-4 green apples, cored and diced
2-4 crisp red apples, cored and diced
2 large Milky Way –cut up
2 large Snickers- cut up
2 Three Musketeers-cut up
1 cup of dried cranberries (craisons work)
1 Tub of whipped topping
1/8 tsp. of Vanilla
If you chill the candy it cuts up easier, but don’t freeze it- unless you have someone with lots of muscles to help chunk it for you. Mix the vanilla into the topping first, then drop in everything else and stir. Top with a sprinkle of nutmeg.