(Tim) On Thanksgiving, my sorrow over the absence of our brother, Nathan, is most acute. Food and table fellowship were Nathan's specialty.
In his home, I envied his ability to host a meal. Whether lunch or dinner, his enjoyment of his wife, Sandy, their children, the food, the sunshine streaming through their dining room windows, music, and you, his guests, was contagious. He was a gentleman so he told merry jokes. Just before the meal, Nathan clucked over the table, finished off the iced tea, chose the music (usually baroque brass leading up to the meal and something quieter while we sat and talked), took taste tests, spiced up this or that dish, kissed Sandy--oh the Christian joy!
Thanksgivings, too, were the day each year that Nathan pulled out his soapstones and sharpened the knives of whatever home we'd gathered in. He'd work on them in the kitchen. Were they sharp enough, yet? The test was shaving hair off the forearm or a clean vertical cut down through a piece of paper, leaving no ragged edges. (Here's a great account of the growing custom knife business.)
Then it was off to manhandle the turkey. Men do it in our family, but not because we don't cook. Nathan and Dad were both superb cooks, but regardless of the sex of the chefs, carving the turkey was man's work. (Here's a short video on carving the turkey--thanks, Jake.)
Speaking of carving the turkey, back in time to our childhood home for a minute or two. Mud and Dad always had a ton of people for Thanksgiving...