Thanksgiving is our family’s favorite holiday (at least for the adults; the kids prefer Christmas, of course.)

The Side Dishes Squadron (ladies) chop, stir, bake and saute throughout the day while Jack and the Turkey Brigade (guys) fuss over  the oven. The turkey is never cooperative, even when brined overnight. Fussing over its creeping temperature is as traditional as football at our house. And when the guys fuss, the SDS gets out of the way but advises from the dining room. Like, “Maybe you should turn up the oven now,” and, “The instructions didn’t say to turn it over.” This year was no different.

Except two grandchildren staying overnight developed their own creeping temperatures and entirely missed the dinner feast. This saddened me, particularly because they had helped clean my house the weekend before to make it nice for Thanksgiving. They were deep asleep when the turkey finally cooperated and we sat down to eat.

That morning after they woke, I planted them — still wearing PJs — on a sofa with blankets in front of TV cartoons: Carter and his little sister, Evey, both with rosy cheeks and glassy eyes, their usual boisterousness turned to lethargy.

Mom and Dad showed up soon after and took over their care. We discussed tucking them away in a bedroom with books and movies when other family members arrived but those grandkids fought it as long as they could. They wanted to be with family.

Jack’s son and family arrived late morning. Jeff’s wife and the two cousins expressed sympathy, but not Jeff.  Jack’s son is the king of sarcasm, something he adopted at age 15 and never quite gave up, even now in his mid-30s. He took one look at them and asked, “So where are we going to quarantine the Ebola patients?”

Becky Clark,