By: Mary Fran Bontempo

IMG_8619I think I’m finally done.

About an hour ago, I came home from my seventy-sixth trip to the grocery store in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. Okay, it wasn’t really seventy-six trips, it was more like three hundred seventy-six. Or at least it felt that way.

Regardless of my copious list-making, I inevitably forget something, which requires me to go back to the store, where I pick up the requisite item, only to return home and realize I’m missing three more things.

And it’s ugly out there. The parking lot at our local farm market, Tanner Brothers Dairy Farm, looked like a smash-up derby waiting to happen. So did the inside. I thought about running people over, but I did a lot of praying instead. I think I reached ninety-four Hail Mary’s before eleven o’clock. When I finally did return home, well, let’s just say the bottle of wine on the counter was looking pretty good, even though it was before noon. (I didn’t drink it, okay? But once it hits five o’clock, I’m not making any promises.)

Unfortunately, the job of preparing for Thanksgiving dinner can leave a woman less than thankful. So I decided to compose a list of things for which I’m grateful, some silly, some not, to remind myself to unclench my jaw and enjoy. Here goes:

1.  Squirrels. Particularly the squirrels around my house, including the one pictured above, who has decided my pumpkin is as good a buffet as he’s going to find anywhere. I know they’re rodents, but watching the squirrels in my yard is like having my own private viewing of Cirque du Soleil every day, without the exorbitant ticket price.

2.  Spanx, spandex and underwire bras. Use your imagination.

3.  Wine. No explanation necessary.

4.  Chocolate. Ditto.

5.  The Trenton airport. Opened in 1929, which is probably the last time they did anything to it, it’s small, dated, kind of dumpy, and sheer heaven compared with Philadelphia International.

6.  Spare bedrooms. Now that at least a few of the kids have moved on, there are extra beds upstairs, which means that when either Dave or I can’t sleep (which of course happens all of the time because we’re old now), we can walk down the hall to another bedroom, or as Dave calls it, “The West Wing,” where a change of scenery sometimes helps us doze off. Yeah, we’re those people now.

7.  Doggie heaven. Yes, I miss my pooch, but I do not miss her mess. Nor will I miss having to clean up her poop from the kitchen floor on Thanksgiving like I did last year because she, too, was old. (And I think Dave and I are at least a few years away from, well…never mind.)

8.  Leftovers. Yes, we will be eating turkey for the next three weeks, and anyone who doesn’t like it is free to graze elsewhere.

9.  Say Yes to the Dress marathons. I simply cannot get enough of wedding gowns.

10. Emma. Beautiful new grandbaby, and her parents, my son, David, and daughter-in-law, Kelly, as well as my daughters, Laura and Megan and ever-patient husband, Dave. It’s been quite a ride, but we’re blessed, and I wish the same for you,

Happy Thanksgiving, NRFGP readers!