A Ladle in the Sky

The air is chill, and the moon, half full, is like the bowl of a ladle in the sky. The meal is finished, and all of the dishes are cleared.

“In Florida, it just feels like another day,” Nicole said, as the turkey neared done. I knew what she meant– years don’t take a loss away. Her father isn’t here any longer to enjoy another holiday. Thanksgiving dinner over, her husband Max loaded the dishwasher, while I played with their daughter, Star, not yet two.

The moon is like a ladle in the sky.

“Halloween is something you do. Any holiday is. You didn’t get trick-or-treaters this year because you didn’t ‘do’ Halloween,” my anthropology professor had said, when I told him I hadn’t decorated during the rush of my thesis year.

There’s truth to it– for Thanksgiving this week, we didn’t turn on the parade, and none of us are football fans. There was just the meal, and games of Upwords between the folding of mousse and the casseroling of green beans.

The moon is like a ladle in the sky, and I watch as Star presses her face against the sliding glass door. “Moon? Moon?” she asks.

Nicole opens the door, picks her up. “Maybe I can lift you high enough the touch the moon. Shall we see?”

“Yes!” says Star, and her mother lifts her overhead. She reaches for the moon, like a ladle in the sky.

“I can’t lift high enough,” says Nicole. “But Daddy is taller. Maybe he can lift you high enough to touch the moon,” she continues, as Max joins them. I linger in the doorway, watching.

Max picks Star up, and she giggles, straining to reach that high cold ladle, white and clear now that the clouds have broken.

“I can’t lift you high enough to touch the moon, but you’re high enough to touch the roof!” Max says, turning, and Star smacks the shingles, both hands, as if they were proffered for a high-five.

They file inside, the chill of the night air like an aura around them.

“Say good-bye to the moon,” Nicole tells Star, who choruses, “Bye moon! Bye Moon!” until she hears a dog bark at the other window, and then all is “Doggy?”

We sit down for dessert, scattered about the living room, no table to unite us. There is still a quiet reservedness. Star begs small bits of pie and chocolate mousse, and I am filled with a a feeling I can’t quite name.

No, it doesn’t feel like just another day. Not now. A holiday is something that you do, something that you make. Here among the people I love best, I think to myself that this… this is Thanksgiving.

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