Thanksgiving in Sarepta

The wind whipped fiercely through the spindly naked trees that surrounded the Jamison house, drying the ground in preparation for a fine layer of snow to stick. It had happened before on Thanksgiving Day, and it could happen again. A slight haze over the morning sun cast its lot with the hopefuls, but the bare branches on the larger oaks hovered, attempting to do their job to avoid a layer of white.

Jennie floated across the kitchen and gathering room, amazed at what she saw. The house was warm and glowing with the colors of Fall, made even more enchanting by the roaring fire in the fireplace and the brilliance of tapers and lanterns on the sideboard and every shelf in the kitchen and great room.

"You girls have done wonders with the look of autumn. I love everything and it puts me in such a fine spirit."

"Jen, if you get into any finer spirit, we'll have to tack your shoes to the floor," said Christine.

They all laughed and danced around the kitchen in their flannel nightgowns.

"How long did it take to achieve such beauty?" Jennie asked.

"Two full days, for we started on Tuesday morning," said Christine.

"It's festive and wonderful, the pumpkins and gourds in layers of magnolia leaves and ivy. Ah, and the smell of roasting turkey—yum."

Anna traipsed to the porch for cold milk and when she returned, Jennie was even more expressive. "Oh, every time someone goes out and comes in, the cold air whips up fragrances of cinnamon and nutmeg, sending holiday greetings through this great old house."

"Mother," said Savannah, "let's not cook breakfast so we can eat lots when everybody gets here."

"Too late for that. I've already got biscuits ready to come out of the oven, but that's it. Just buttered biscuits and fig preserves. Oh, and coffee. Lots of coffee. It's early yet. You're goin' to need a little somethin' to keep up that energy. We've lots more work to do."

"That sounds fine. Just fine," Duncan said, piling yet another load of firewood in the corner beside the fireplace then warming his body by the blazing fire. Jen, catching her father off guard, snatched his knit hat from his head and hugged him. "Papa, you're a fine man," she laughed, dragging out "fine" and tousling her father's hair. "Oh, I'm so glad the War's over and you'll never be gone another Thanksgiving or Christmas! Joy to the World!"

Duncan's four daughters danced around him shouting, "Here! Here!"

"Now I know," he said grinning from ear to ear.

"What, Papa? You know what?" Christine tossed her father's hat to Savannah.

"Why the Lord gave me all girls. To pester me. Keep me humble."

"This is goin' to be tricky," said Jessie Jamison, "but someone needs to bring in the bathin' tub. You girls are goin' to have to move fast, for I need the whole of this kitchen for all I have to do."

"First!" yelled Christine.

"Well, just make it snappy. All of you."

"I'm going—outside," said Duncan, laughing all the way out the door. "I''ll be gone one hour with hopes that you girls will be done by the time I get back." He pulled the wool cap onto his head, grabbed the milk buckets, and slogged to the barn, smiling as he thought of so many things for which he was thankful, not the least of which were Jessie and his four beautiful daughters. And for peace in their world, if only for the moment.

From the manuscript, Isaac's House
by Jane Bennett Gaddy