Trina and Anne talked on the phone before Thanksgiving. Anne wanted to know if she could bring anything. Trina suggested a Mince Meat Pie, something she remembered from her childhood but had not eaten in a while. Anne dug around on the internet and found a recipe for it, then after a quick trip to Kroger for the jars of Mince Meat (it _really_ has meat in it!), and to the liquor store for $ 150 worth of liquor (of which Anne used a tablespoon of brandy in the Mince Meat pie) she was ready to make it. Anne had her heart set on a home made crust, so she slaved away in the kitchen until she had it done. Although the crust looked a little rough, it tasted great!
We drove out of Plano on Thanksgiving day, a beautiful, cool Thursday morning. The traffic was fairly light all the way to Houston, about 4.5 hours south. Our cell phone rang just north of Conroe. Trina had talked with Anne's brother Tom, whose family also in Houston. He had made a trip to the emergency room the night before due to bronchitis and Pleurisy. He and Joyce were not going to be able to make the Thanksgiving dinner. We decided to pickup their girls, Emily and Mia, and take them with us over to Trina's house for the dinner and festivities. Their apartment was only about 10 minutes out of the way of our route! We picked up the girls and headed over to Trinas. The girls had been reading their Highlights magazine and pelted us with jokes on our way over. Q: How many ears did Davey Crocket have? A: Three. A left ear, a right ear, and a wild frontier (front ear, get it?). Q: What did one eye say to the other? A: Just between you and me, something smells.
Things were really swinging when we arrived at their house. Doug and Russell were home from college. Melanie and Brandi were in and out. Manasi was over visiting (we didn't get any pictures of Manasi !). There was football playing on the TV. Thanksgiving dinner was setup on two tables, one in the living room, the other in the family room. The boys (and Anne) took the family room, and all the other the girls took the living room. Steve's parents, Joe and Rita, were also there bringing tons of great food when they arrived. We had enough food for an army! Everyone piled food high then headed to their assigned seats and ate and ate.
After dinner we clear the dishes and setup for a rousing game of Cranium. Here's Melanie trying to explain without words "no mustache!", and of course, we got it right! Later that afternoon we plugged in the video tape of Melanie's school play, "Le Miz", and watched it. It was amazing that high school students could perform so well! There were 30 students in the cast. They had taken this play to regional competition in Wichita Falls, TX. As of this writing they had not heard how they did, but they got a standing ovation at the intermission. That _had_ to be a good sign!
After the play we drove Emily and Mia home and left them with Tom and Joyce along with a paper bag full of left over Thanksgiving goodies (turkey, dressing, taters, gravy, and lots of pie). Then on to Radisson to check in a get settled for the night.
The next day, Friday, we headed back over to Trina's house. Today was their traditional time to hang all the Christmas lights, so we got started helping. Here is Trina none to happy about the state of the tangled lights. But with a little work they were all straightened out, the bad bulbs replaced, and moved outside in preparation for the decorating. It takes planning to get the lights up with so many people working on things. Russell and Doug were responsible for the roof work. After taking care of some necessary business, they got to work. Their old dog Thor supervised (but mostly just slept stretched out on the grass).
We headed out later to dinner and a movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Die Another Day were on about the same time at the Theater, so we broke up into two groups to watch the movie. After the movie Anne and I headed back to our room to crash.
Saturday morning we headed south to Friendswood, TX, southeast of Houston, when my brother and his family live. Morgan and picked up the folks at Houston Intercontinental Airport about an hour before we arrived. Morgan and Mary Jane had been decorating for Christmas and had their tree up in the family room along with some beautiful decorations on the stairway that Morgan, Anne, Mom and I had seen in a store in Louisville when we visited Louisville earlier in fall. Here's mom and dad in front of the tree. We had a nice time visiting while Mary Jane showed us their plans for the backyard, and Morgan showed us their plans for the garage. Clifton was home from LSU this weekend so we were lucky to see him. We also got an opportunity to talk with Meredith and see how things were going with her. She is graduating high school early and has already started shopping around for colleges! We took a nice group shot, then headed out to a late lunch at a local Italian restaurant. Anne and I left about 3:15pm to drive back to Dallas. It was a wonderful visit with everyone.