Thanksgiving and more

Susan Manzke

Thanksgiving Thursday on the farm was quiet. Only Ginny, Bob’s sister, joined us for lunch.

Still, I made a 20-pound turkey. Crazy you may think. Yummy, I say. We had food for the holiday, and now we have lots for future meals. Of course most of that bird is packaged and in our freezer. When in a hurry, we can microwave and eat.

Some may wonder where our family was. All celebrated their Thursday with their in-laws. The Manzke mob arranged our Thanksgiving to be celebrated Saturday at Rachel and Dave’s. I brought the dressing. Rachel made the turkey. Salad, potatoes, bread and dessert came with the rest of the family. The plan was to stay with food that was heart healthy — for Bob and everyone else, too.

Our first stop wasn’t at the house. Rachel had organized the family to come early to her new shop in Sun Prairie: Rachel Manzke Photography on Main Street. The plan was to take a family photo as a gift for us — our 43rd anniversary being the first of December and, of course, Christmas.

To my surprise, everyone was there on time. Individual photos were taken and so were groups of families. Eventually, everyone was directed to a particular spot for the main event.

Since we had 21 family members to shoot in one big group, Rachel directed us outside. Our daughter started her setup by positioning her father and me. One by one she added adults and children around us.

“Put your hand here on Dad’s chest,” she told me. “Dad, put your left hand on your lap.”

Rachel took control, trying to get us all in order before we froze in the cold wind. I was a bit cold, but the more people were added and the more we squeezed together, the warmer I felt.

A friend of Rachel, Leanne, actually snapped the photo of the large group. Having Leanne there was the best way to get Rachel into the shot, too. That way she didn’t have to set a timer and run to get in position.

When one or two of the children started to moan, Rachel got them to stay put by declaring, “We’re doing this for Grandma and Grandpa.”

“Don’t blame us,” said Bob with a laugh.

Rachel succeeded in keeping our family together with her next order. “Turn to the person nearest you and laugh.” That wasn’t much of a command as a lot of giggling was already going on.

After the silly photo was snapped, Rachel said, “Stop laughing.” That was the only command we didn’t obey. We were all having too much fun.

Soon we were heading to Rachel and Dave’s home to finish our food preparations. In no time, we were chowing down.

The rest of the afternoon we enjoyed each other’s company and watched the cousins play together. Sometime while we were inside, Russell and Cynthia slipped grocery bags filled with heart healthy food into our car. When we emptied them later at home, it was like Christmas morning — a healthy Christmas.

Too soon our family celebration was over, and we were heading home. I couldn’t have been happier. I left with an inner glow that lasted for days.

Now we have photos to cherish forever. One Bob and I will use for our Christmas card. To receive it, you’ll have to send a card our way (enclosing a postage stamp would be nice), and we’ll send one to you.

Bob and Susan Manzke

I sure hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was as yummy and fun as ours.

Now for a gentle reminder: if in need of a special gift, I hope you consider my books. They are all $10 each, even the large print. I’d be happy to sign them, too. And if you do read any of my books, even from the library, please leave a review on Amazon.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;