Julie Lyles Carr

Signs of the Season: Pilgrim's Progress



About ten years ago, I was hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for my extended family. I had cleaned the house from top to bottom, scrubbed the base boards, pulled out the good china and crystal and ironed the linens. As part of the place settings, I had the kids make parchment scrolls, tied with rafia, that told of what they were thankful for in the lives of each of our guests. The blessing was intoned, the napkins unfolded, the scrolls untied and we began my storybook Thanksgiving scene. Except for my second child, McKenna. She was about six at the time and even at that young age, was a stickler for details, a trait she carries to this day. She was seated next to Mike's precious grandmother, Grammy, who was decked in full Thanksgiving finery, from her autumn leaf earrings to her harvest-inspired chic outfit. McKenna kept looking up at Grammy throughout the prayer and reading of thanks and then hopped up, disappearing back into my bedroom. She reappeared a few seconds later with a pair of tweezers in her han