An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving Full

Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday. It's an uncomplicated holiday -- one that is simply about sitting down with family and friends and breaking bread together. Really, it doesn’t get better than that. This year Thanksgiving was extra special.


Photo:
Thanksgiving Gathering


It’s all about family

And lots of it. Although we were hosting for Joe’s side of the family, because my parents live locally and I have siblings nearby, Thanksgiving was a coming together of both sides. Joe and I are very blessed in that not only do we have wonderful parents and siblings, but our families know each other and get along.  I love, for example, that my brother-in-law went fishing with my father and that my sister-in-law was helping my sister bargain shop for a Nespresso machine.

Taking it outside

From the moment we started planning, I knew that we would be dining outside under a canopy of red, yellow, and orange leaves – the bounty of family and food nestled within the bounty of nature.
Photo:
Twenty-two around the table.


Thanksgiving Day Weekend

With family arriving from Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, Thanksgiving was a weekend affair. And we kept everyone busy . . .

Wednesday night: the Novajosky Soup Kitchen (soup, salad, fruit salad) officially opened for anyone who rolled into town at any time.

Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner
Photo:
Give Thanks (printed from Pinterest)

Photo:
Place settings (harvest leaves also found on Pinterest)
Photo:
The buffet line.
Photo:
Cousins waiting for the dinner bell.

Photo:
My sister made the most decorative pumpkin pie.
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We could not have asked for more perfect weather.

Thursday night: S’mores, wine, conversation, and laughter around the fire pit.
Photo:
There is something magical about gathering around a fire.

Friday: Picnic at Hamilton Branch State Park with fishing, boat rides from Nonno, cornhole, and golf. Golf?!?  Why yes, golf.  With an island just offshore, Joe brought clubs and a box of 150+ old golf balls and challenged everyone to hit “closest to the pin” (a marker in the middle of the island). I can’t say for sure, but a LOT of balls landed in the lake.
Photo:
Cornhole
1. too far away  2. a little closer   3. perfect distance
Photo:
Will and Matt heading out with Nonno for a boat ride.
Photo:
Closest to the pin.
Photo:
Hamilton Branch State Park
(for the picnic, our number grew to 27 when my brother's family joined us)
Friday night: the girls attended The Nutcracker at the Imperial Theater.
Photo:
My sister-in-law saying hello to James Brown before heading to the
The Nutcracker at the Imperial Theater.
Saturday: visiting Aiken
Photo:
Aiken was bursting with fall colors.

Football and Shopping

From the moment we parked in downtown Aiken, there was a problem. What to do with all the guys while the gals explored the stores along Laurens Street? THE SOLUTION: park them in the upstairs sports bar of the Aiken Brewing Company. With a gazillion televisions broadcasting every football game known to man, and fortified with a hearty lunch, the guys were perfectly content to stay right where they were and the gals were free to explore and shop.
Photo:
Aiken Brewing Company for Papa and the guys.



Thanksgiving Full


By Saturday evening everyone had gone. Our driveway, which had looked like a car lot for three days, was empty. When Joe, the boys and I came home from Mass, we sat around the fireplace and shared memories from the weekend. It was all so very good.
Photo:
And then there was one ...
Photo:
I'm not going to lie. Sunday I was tired and stayed in my pj's all day,
but it was a good tired. A contented tired. A grateful tired.
And I would do it all again.


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