Saturday, November 27, 2004


Our Thanksgiving was simple and wonderful with just the four of us. Our holidays are not usually spent with extended family mainly because of weather. Roads to Montana can be frightful and unpredictable and our frequent flyer miles do not apply. Airline tickets to Montana from Seattle are more expensive that Seattle-London so here we stay. We had some very good friends in the same Seattle boat so we would switch back and forth between our houses for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter but they moved to Pennsylvania. So, we had four places at the dining room table this year.

Thanksgiving feast preparation always begins the night before with Lucas and Kaley making the fresh cranberry-orange relish. I have had them make this from the time they were little and had to stand on chairs to reach the countertop. Always, they argue about who put more cranberries in the grinder.

Lucas and Kaley making cranberry relish this year!
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The next day, Thanksgiving, we just relaxed and scheduled out when we would cook our traditional dishes. This year we used nothing but fresh herbs for the turkey stuffing; we used a fresh yam for the sweet potatoes baked with apple; but I still made green been casserole with water chestnuts and cream of mushroom soup. My daughter had made the pumpkin pies the night before from scratch with fresh ginger and cloves.

Puget Sound was glossy and all morning I kept saying the water was perfect for orca viewing. Of course, my family just laughed at me but the binoculars were never far from my wooden spoon. As I prepared the turkey and stuffing, we had the dog show on the TV.

Lucas and Kaley and Apolo watching dog show BEFORE they knew Dad had camera.
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AFTER they saw camera--Ewww! Too close to sister!
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With the turkey in the oven we settled down to a good game of scrabble and the binoculars were on the table. Sure enough, Dave noticed something. I stood up and started jumping up and down and screaming. ORCAS! ORCAS!! I knew it!! I knew we would see orcas. We spotted them near the Mukilteo ferry and watched them roll and swim quickly south--about five with a male and his gigantic dorsal fin near the lead. Three pairs of binoculars were shared by the four of us but you could see them with the naked eye anyway. What a Thanksgiving thrill!! Orcas to me are spiritual animals and I completely understand why the Indians in our area have worshipped them; they are godlike creatures. To see them slice through the glossy water on this special day with my family together was beyond perfect.

Orcas traveled from right of picture to the left about half way out!
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Sky on Thanksgiving afternoon! There is a God.
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I never win Scrabble always losing to my husband and now I lose to my husband and my kids. Actually, come to think of it, now my husband loses to the kids, too. But I did not care; I saw my orcas. We finished our game-playing with a fascinating moral discussion. Lucas brought up the fact that one of his professors explained that the Hutterites in Montana (an Amish like group) were willing to pay male college students with good grades $40,000 to have sex with their young girls. Evidently, their gene pool is diminishing because of intermarriage. "Bad idea! Don't do it! Dinner is ready!"

Dinner time
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"For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly Thankful. Amen." The simple grace we say, the simple English prayer my family has always said for probably hundreds of years, reminds me of my parents, my brother and my grandparents. My heart is with them even though we are not. We toast and around the table, we each proclaim what we are thankful for. As for me.....

I was thankful we saw our wild orcas.