Could I get a hug with that drumstick?

Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Four times a year I grant unto myself the freedom to indulge in potato salad, baked beans, squash casserole, dirty rice, ham, turkey, cake, pie… You get the picture. And yeah, I guess that should be over-indulge. Nor do I do this dirty deed alone. Oh, no. I drag my whole entire family to the table. Misery loves company, after all.

“Here, have a deviled egg. Take two, they’re small.”
“Want some Cool Whip with that pie?”
“Mmmmm, cornbread and collard greens, delicious.”
“Of course, I’d love another helping of dressing. Ladle on the gravy, baby!”

Gathering for a meal at the holidays is a ritual in our family. We meet, we eat, we talk, we laugh, and we renew the bonds that hold us together. Sometimes we even call a family gathering when there isn’t a holiday, just to shake things up a bit. You know, grill a few hotdogs and hamburgers, or fry up some fish and hush puppies. Not everything has to be about turkey and ham.

The best thing is that whatever the occasion, everyone always goes away full of more than just food. We stock up on hugs and smiles, encouraging words and humorous stories. Accomplishments are applauded. Failures are meticulously examined for silver linings and golden nuggets of wisdom. And dreams for the future are polished until they shine.

Yes, the fried turkey was juicy, the potato salad, perfect, and the pecan pie a slice of heaven, but though it may be the food that brings us together, it’s the heaping plate full of love that keeps us coming back for more.