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Megan invited Kris and me over for Thanksgiving dinner. She knew we were orphaned this holiday, where "orphaned" is, of course, defined as too cheap to buy expensive tickets to visit our loved ones, opting to spend that money on flights to the Midwest for everyone to work on a house I bought instead. Or so I tell Kris.

I thought we'd have Mark and Megan, their parents, us, Doyle and Shirley, and maybe a couple of Mark's brothers. I was delightfully wrong, as we greeted Megan's parents, Mark's parents, Megan's sister (whom I had heard lots about, but only met in passing before), her significant other (who I've known for DECADES, but only after confirmed he was, indeed, more than 20 years old), all three Smith brothers of Kyle, Kevin, Matthew (who is now Matthew, and no longer Matty), both Smith grandmothers (though only one is actually a Smith), Mark's Dad's brother, his guest, his son and his significant other, a coworker of Mark's (another orphan), Kyle's Emily (who rocks, and hey, did you know she's beautiful in turkey dinner candlelight?), and Mirabelle (who slept thought much of the afternoon, and was the only person under 18 there (yay, Matty, er, Matthew).

I'm sure I'm missing a few others who were there, but that's just it: the living area was filled with three tables of people from four generations of Smith's. The house was filled with the smells of amazing food, and sounds of dozens of people talking in merriment. I can say that, because I sat at the children's table with Doyle and Shirley and Kris and Matty, er, Matthew, and Lucas and Kevin and Emily, with Kyle at the head of the table, and there was much merriment at our table.

After dinner, I wandered into Keith's office to work out a problem I've been gnawing on for a while now, from a personal site I've been working on. While I was working, many people came to visit with me, which was really cool, as I was able to catch up with them one-on-one in a quiet room instead of in a big crowd with lots of noise. Heather and Vinny and Vincent's mother showed up after dinner, with Heather being one of the people who came to visit with me. We talked for probably half an hour, which was about 25 minutes longer than any other conversation we've had. It was nice to finally talk to her, as we've been in the same social circle for years and never actually talked.

Rock Band started up about an hour after dinner, with the Smith Brother's Band rocking the house. Mark was on ocals, Kyle on drums and Kevin played guitar. Their first song brought down the house, with the entire family watching their musical exploits. Their second song was one that, well, Mark had never heard of, much less knew of, and, well, they failed that song. When they started back up again, Shirley grabbed the microphone as Mark's backup singer, and recovered their score.

The entire afternoon to evening to night event was wonderful and in some ways completely amazing. My family hasn't had the big family Thankgiving dinner since we stopped going to my aunt's house, many years ago. I miss that gathering and its festivities. I'm incredibly thankful that Megan and Mark let Kris and me share with their family's festivities.

I'm also amazed my kale dish was completely eaten. Even Mirabelle liked my cooked carrots. Of course, even brussel sprouts taste good with enough olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar, eh?