How was the drive? How were the roads? Can I take your coats? Did you bring the extra cooler? Do you want some help up the stairs? Who's watching the dog while you're away? Did you bring the grasshopper pie? How many rolls did you eat last year? Do you want to put that in the refrigerator? How's school? How's that nephew of mine? Want a pickle? Do you want to see pictures from our trip? What's new?
All of that before we had even gotten in the door. The Great Big Family Thanksgiving On The Farm. We tensed for it. We cooked for days in anticipation. We packed our play clothes for after dinner. We secretly wished that we could have Thanksgiving at our house so that we could see the whole Macy's parade. We all packed into the car with coolers and boxes full of food that would be effectively unnecessary but nonetheless required. We drove for hours until we reached the cousins' house.
A good year would give us clear weather and dry roads, but hefty drifts of snow to remind us of the season. The snow would provide us with the recreation to work up a hunger for a second helping of turkey, potatoes, yams, stuffing (aptly named), gravy, and another half dozen rolls. The danger was not usually in the extreme motor sports that our cousins would provide for us to enjoy, but that we might not have room for dessert afterward.
When the sun went down and we were back inside, the grownups would pass the bottle of Cold Duck around while the kids huddled around the television, anticipating one more pass at the bountiful leftovers. Eventually it would be time to pack up and leave, bellies full and coolers empty. Fat, happy, and thankful.