As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Dreaded Thanksgiving Tradition

With the holiday season descending upon us many traditions are looked forward to. Others will be sadly missed. And still others earned at one time or another the title of:

Dreaded Thanksgiving Tradition

Every year on Thanksgiving we had special guests, Grandma and Grandpa. We could see their house from our front window but they only came to visit once a year--on Thanksgiving. And they never stayed past desert. I even remember one of my older sisters being notified to make the call. The phone call, on the party line, to Grandma and Grandpa informing them that the turkey was coming out of the oven. They were that close.

Maybe this is strange to some, but I was a child and didn't know differently. I remember asking why they never came at Christmas and being informed that they bypassed us on Christmas to go further up the lane to our cousin's house. I was miffed until Mother smoothed it over with explaining that there were two houses of grand-kids up there and none of us, including me when I got older, wanted to combine three families of rowdy kids under the age of seventeen in one house. Don't get me wrong, I love my cousins, even the boy cousins my age, but twenty kids locked indoors for hours because it is too cold outside to do play or do chores? I'll take Grandma and Grandpa on Turkey day.

Every year had a few new and interesting twists, but of one thing I could always count on--Grandpa saying the prayer. Okay, so he is the patriarch and it is his right, but we kids dreaded that prayer. In his younger years, Grandpa was the Bishop of our sprawled community. Need I elaborate?

Didn't think so.

Love the man to death but when he prayed the sun went to sleep. He mentioned every kid by name and thanked the Lord for them and especially if the youth had accomplished something important in the past year-- learned how to milk a cow, including stripping it, graduate high school the previous spring, lost a tooth, anything at all. Lest you think that isn't bad, he didn't conclude there. He prayed over every field, I seem to recall two ranches and a lot of hay and potato fields. That done he would move on to the herd of sheep notated by how many lambs the ewes had dropped last spring. From there he covered the herd of cattle, both the milk cows and the ones going to market and the livestock expected to drop more offspring in the coming year. Did I mention the chickens, the geese, the gardens and the orchards? But wait, we aren't done! He had to mention those neighbors that had weathered an overly difficult year and those whose lives were prosperous before turning his prayer to one of blessing the coming year.

I shouldn't bore you with all this except that I really need you to sympathize with me when I admit to drinking my shrimp cocktail long before the closing "amen(s)". Hey, I was a kid and I knew the turkey would be cold--again, along with the homemade stuffing, the green beans and the jell-o salad.

All I can say is that these days the turkey still doesn't taste right if it isn't room temperature. Of course, the rolls were hot as they had been kept in the warmer, but if you weren't fast, you got the frozen ones that didn't fit. Can you really blame a kid for dreading the families Thanksgiving Tradition?
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