Janet Hommel Mangas: Thanksgiving plans come into focus

The traditional Thanksgiving seven-sibling text just started circulating.

Kevin’s bringing a turkey, mashed potatoes and cheese ‘n’ chips.

Debbie is bringing her crock pot of green beans, potatoes and sausage and chicken chili and a fresh vegetable platter.

Jerri worked a late FedEx shift, so she hasn’t responded, but she’s never allowed to come without her perfect deviled eggs and pies — family policy.

The Hommel Mangas section is bringing ham (husband tradition) and turkey and noodles. (Note to my relentless dear brothers: the noodles will not have a green tint like that one and only time nearly thirty years ago.)

Chris’ wife Amanda insisted on bringing her “sweet niece’s favorite” baked mac and cheese — I’ve never seen her own five children eat anyone else’s attempt.

David and Julie always bring a scrumptious salad among other delicacies.

Driving up from Lexington, Leta is working out her schedule but always fills the menu with something yummy and nutritious.

Mom gets to sit back and enjoy the grandkids and great-grandkids — having endured the hustle and bustle of cooking and cleaning up Thanksgiving meals for our family of nine for decades. She started even before she was in her 20s all the way through her 70s — over six decades to be exact. She was quite good at it.

Personally, I would rather wash and dry every individual plate, glass and silverware in Johnson County by hand, rather than cook — but that’s me.

I’d also rather dig a hole and plant a grove of trees in 90 degree heat rather than unravel the sweeper cord and run the sweeper — but again, that’s me.

My goal in cooking is for the food to be it edible and not give anyone food poisoning or botulism. But I admit I do enjoy sweeping and cleaning other people’s homes.

My 11-year-old nephew Drew told me a few weeks ago he “loved sweeping.” I didn’t want to disappoint him so we took turns sweeping.

Obviously curious on how I missed this perfect parenting tip, I asked my sister-in-law Amanda how in the world did you teach your son to love sweeping?

Amanda texted, “Drew likes to sweep because the older kids (he has four older siblings) won’t let him so he sees it as the coveted chore — it’s not about good parenting at all, it just rotten older siblings.” She dryly added, “Eli used to stand on the sweeper while I vacuumed — he won’t do it anymore.” (Eli is a sophomore in high school.)

I’m thankful that God made us all different. That my brother Kevin can make a great pot of mashed potatoes and Jerri loves to mix up three large plates of deviled eggs and miraculously watch them disappear.

And I’m thankful we have dishes and silverware to wash — and the same kitchen window to look out of while washing the dishes. The same window that I used to daydream from when I was a teenager washing the dishes.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to [email protected]