Prompt: Hearth and Home
Characters: Wolfgang, Amber, Bernd, mention of Angela & the rest of the family
Word count: 716
Summary: Thanksgiving at the Pawlitzki’s…
Author’s note: Please note that Amber, James, & Greta belong to Kat & I’m just borrowing them…
Wolfgang shooed everyone out of the kitchen now that breakfast was finished. He had a turkey to roast, stuffing to make, not to mention a mountain of mash potatoes, a green bean casserole, cornbread, and butternut squash. He knew they meant well and the thought of extra hands in the kitchen was a pleasant one, but he preferred to go it alone. It gave him time to count the blessings in his life; two grown sons, an “adoptive” one, a loving daughter-in-law, a girlfriend of sorts, a son-in-law he helped raise, an “adoptive” daughter, a lifelong friend, several other grown children he also helped raise and two beautiful grandchildren. His Angela would be proud if she were here. Wolfgang sighed. Even after all these years, he still missed her during the holidays.
Caring for his large family helped ease the pain of loss and Wolfgang made a huge fuss over holidays as that was a way of preserving Angela’s memory. While Thanksgiving was not a big holiday back home in Germany, Wolfgang embraced it here. He liked the idea of family and friends getting together and he knew Angela would have loved the holiday. So the kitchen in the week leading up to the “big day” became his domain. It was cleaned from top to bottom; the good china was brought out, table linens were freshly laundered and pressed, anything that could be prepped or made in the days before Thanksgiving was done. Some things were also delegated, like his son Didi was in charge of making the pies for dessert and his good friend Luigi was bringing the appetizers. Wolfgang sighed. Baked clams and antipasto may not have been traditional Thanksgiving dishes, but they were Luigi’s specialty and he brought them to all their big celebrations.
The big moment finally arrived. The turkey was carved, the sides were all finished. Everything was warming in the oven. Wolfgang brought out the appetizers. He went to the den, where his family was watching TV. “Time to eat,” he said. The adults stood up and started heading towards the dining room.
“Come on, kids,” Bernd said with a smirk. “Let’s go eat.”
Amber groaned. She and her girlfriends were watching the start of the second NFL game. It was not her beloved college game, but the match up was good. Tomorrow, she would be glued to the TV, watching whatever college game struck her fancy. “Tell Vati we’ll be there in a minute.”
“It’s only football.”
Amber snorted. “Whose ass was glued to the sofa during the World Cup games? And who got upset when I said I didn’t want to watch some boring old soccer game?”
“It’s football, not soccer.”
Amber gave him “the look” and Bernd turned beet red. She reached for the remote and switched off the TV. He was right in a sense; it was only football, specifically professional football. The college game she wanted to see was on later, so she and her girlfriends got up and headed to the dining room.
Greta chuckled. “Looks like someone isn’t getting invited downstairs after the game,” she said to him in German.
Bernd blinked. He swore softly to himself in German. Greta was right, he was sleeping upstairs tonight. He followed them to the dining room and sat down next to Amber’s brother James.
Wolfgang brought in the platter of carved turkey. He set it on the table next to the mash potatoes and gravy boat, and took his seat at the head of the table. He looked out at his family and smiled. Taking Luigi’s hand on the one side and Didi’s on the other, he waited for everyone to take hands. “Let’s give thanks to family and friends and to this bountiful feast. Let’s also give thanks to our home in America and the family we left behind in Germany, Italy, and those who are too far away in this country to share this meal with us.” And to you, mien Engle, for our family that’s grown into this one…
“Thanks,” everyone said.
“Let’s eat!” Wolfgang said. He watched as plates were filled and dishes were passed around amid the soft buzz of conversation. It was a happy, yet bittersweet, moment like every holiday, but he would not trade it for the world.