Ronnie had just reached out for the bowl of mashed potatoes when he felt a tug at his elbow. It was Georgiana. He smiled and said, “I’ll give you some too. No worries!”
She shook her head. “No, we have to say Grace first,” she said solemnly.
Several other reaching hands stilled and every eye found the little girl’s guileless face.
“We always say Grace with Reverend Trenton,” she explained.
“Well…that’s lovely. We’ll do the same. Will you do the honors, Georgiana?” Catherine said, passing a loving hand over the child’s light brown curls.
Georgiana nodded and held her hands out, one to Ronnie and the other to Catherine. “We have to hold hands, too,” she explained.
Ronnie grinned and looked all around. “This gets better and better,” he mumbled and held out his hand to Simon who looked as if he was about to put his fingers into a vat of poisonous spiders.
“Come on, big brother. Lead by example, why dontcha?” Ronnie teased.
Simon cast a glance at his father who was holding both Julian’s and Peter’s hands, and took a fortifying breath, gripping Ronnie’s hand much tighter than need be and very gently on his other side, where Marty sat smiling in a grandmotherly fashion.
"This is so nice! As it should be," she muttered her approval.
“G’head, kid!” Ronnie said.
Georgiana bowed her head. “Dear God, thank you for this bountiful feast, bless the hands who made it, make us truly worthy of your love and give comfort and solace to those who have less than we do. Amen.”
“Oh, that was just wonderful!” Marty gushed.
“Very nice, Georgiana,” Victor said.
“Now we can eat!” Ronnie shouted letting go of his brother’s hand quicker than he would have a slimy snake, but Georgiana would not let go.
“We’re not done yet,” she said.
“We’re not?” Andy asked, letting go of the serving spoon, sending a few buttery peas onto the linen table cloth.
“No, we’s gots to tell what we’re thankful for,” Julian eagerly said, looking up at Victor. “Can I go first?”
“Sure, Julian, show us the way,” Victor said.
“I’m thankful for my new big brudder, Ronnie. He’s got really cool toys and he lets me play wiff dem!” Julian said.
Andy burst out laughing, until his wife elbowed him in the ribs.
“Cool! I’m thankful for my new little brothers and sisters. I always wanted to be a big brother,” Ronnie said and he bumped elbows with Simon. “Your turn.”
Simon looked around and smiled at his grandmother. “I’m thankful Grandma and Morris finally found each other. Despite all the bickering, I think it’s safe to say you are both happily in love.”
“True that! I’m thankful to be alive and well, and finally with my long lost love, and I’m grateful I’m here with all of you. First real family Thanksgiving I’ve had in a very long time,” Morris exclaimed before gently squeezing Marty’s hand. “Well, little lady, what are you thankful for?”
“I’m thankful I have you at last, Morris dear, and that I have my wonderful family to share with you, an ever increasing one,” Marty said with a little laugh. “I’m ever so thankful to have not only my beautiful boys, Ronnie and Simon, but now two new grandsons, Peter and Julian and two granddaughters, Geoginana and... whatever you're going to call the baby! I couldn’t be happier.”
Victor had been about to remind his former mother-in-law that his newly adopted kids weren’t technically her grandchildren, but thought better of it and remained quiet.
“I’m thankful to finally be a father,” Andy said, smiling at his baby and then at Catherine, before he kissed her cheek. “Think I’ll be any good at it?”
“You were a father long before this, Andy, and a darn good one,” Victor interjected. “I’m thankful you were a good role model for Simon and Ronnie as they were growing up. Your new baby is lucky to have found you.”
Andy stared at him, aghast, and opened his mouth, but found he couldn’t get any words out, so he shut it again, nodded and turned to his wife. “Honey, what are you thankful for? As if I don’t already know,” he said.
Catherine stared at Andy for a moment, then looked down at her baby. “I…I’m thankful…I’m very thankful… for Violet,” she said quietly, her eyes leaving the baby only long enough to look at Andy. “What would we have done without her?”
“What did you say?” Victor said. “You’re thankful for Violet? Why in the world…you barely know her!”
Andy saw the panic in his wife’s eyes. Yes, she had said too much, especially in front of a sharp lawyer like Victor. He, however, just smiled. “That's not exactly true, Victor. I’ve known her for years from coaching little league and reffing soccer and…”
“And pee-wee football,” Simon interjected.
“And Bitty basketball,” Ronnie added.
Andy laughed. “Yeah, that too. When I introduced Catherine to Violet they took a shine to each other.”
“Seriously???” Victor said.
Andy chuckled. “Odd as it may sound, yes, we really liked her, Victor. She’s a great lady, but that night…that Halloween night at the party at your house,” Andy said, the cogs working fiercely as he spoke. “When we got the news about…about the baby being ours, she outdid herself offering us the boys’ crib and loads of baby stuff she said you still had.”
“No, she said she would have offered it to us. Remember, Andy? She told us that Victor had given it all away to… to someone who needed it,” Catherine said.
“Karen and baby Missy,” Victor said, frowning at them. “But…”
“Dad, we’re kinda hungry, can we talk about baby stuff later?” Ronnie said, his grumbling tummy quite audible.
“Sorry,” Victor said, suspiciously watching Catherine.
“I’m very happy right now, happier than I’ve been in a very long time and I'm very thankful for that,” Catherine continued. “I love all of you.”
“Even me?” Morris asked, chuckling.
Catherine smiled faintly. “Yes, Morris, even you. You make my mother happy. That counts for something.”
“Heavens…who would have imagined that?” Marty said, her eyes wide in astonishment.
“Now can we eat?” Ronnie asked.
“No, it's my turn now,” Georgiana said, taking a deep breath. “I’m thankful for my new family…it's much bigger and better than I ever thought we’d get.” She smiled at Victor. “I never thought we'd get one. Thanks for adopting us...Dad.”
“You’re very welcome, Sweetie,” Victor said. “I’m thankful I could do it. Peter, it’s your turn. You’re the last one.”
He looked all around then up to Victor. “I’m fankful I have a new dad,” he said. “Now we can eat, Ronnie!”
“Cool!” Ronnie shouted.
They all laughed and eager hands grabbed at food willy-nilly.
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