The candles flickered and emitted a soft light on the otherwise dim room. There were six maybe seven candlesticks across the table with long white candles. Hot wax dripped down the candle leaving behind a hardening hill of wax down the sides. Liquid wax dripped on the maroon table cloth and dried into white slopes.

A large platter of turkey placed on the table. My uncle has been carving strips. Bowls of different vegetables that I had not seen together appear on the table. Peas, green beans, a large bowl of something bright and orange I would learn soon was yams coated in a caramel colored sauce. Family members started to sit in seats around the table, many I hadn’t seen for a year or more. Some were new faces, and yet in the candle light I could see the smiles etched, smiles that went deep.

Toni from the kitchen invites us to begin. Sounds of the voices talking back and forth together, excited to share some new thing. I scooped mashed potatoes, we passed the bowls down. I took the peas, the beans, I had someone help me with the turkey. I got a little of the light and some of the dark meat on my plate. There was a bowl with a jelly sliced in disks, I asked the person next to me, they said it was cranberry. I put a couple of those on my plate. Then a rich red liquid I’d come to know as wine was poured into wine glasses around the table. I got sparkling apple juice, which rolled around in the glass as it was being poured. We all raised our glass and toasted to our family.


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