“Well Sir, what do you think?” Scott waited for his father to respond to his request. He watched the older man’s face, he wished he could read the man, and started to think maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Finally Murdoch answered, “I think that’s a good idea Scott, but you understand Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated out here like it is back East.” He saw Scott’s expression and relented, “Maybe we could give it a try.” Murdoch smiled as he son relaxed.
“We could invite Sam and Val and include all the workers on the ranch.” Scott was getting excited.
Murdoch smiled at Scott’s excitement about planning the celebration. “Yes son, but you are in charge of the arrangements.” Murdoch chucked as he headed to the kitchen for some of Maria’s cookies.
Scott moved to the desk and stared making lists, he would enlist the ladies and even ‘guilt’ Johnny into helping. This is going to be a wonderful Thanksgiving Scott thought as he added another item to the menu.
“Hey Boston what ya doin’?” Johnny moved
toward Scott and sat in the chair opposite the desk while he watched his
brother intently writing something. “Come on, what’s goin’ on? Hey did you
know Maria made cookies?”
“Johnny, I want you to help with the Thanksgiving arrangements.” Scott handed Johnny a piece of paper.
“What’s Thanksgiving?” Johnny looked at the list then up at his brother. “We don’t have a Thanksgiving in Mexico.” Johnny tossed the list onto the desk, stood up and headed for the kitchen.
“Where are you going, I need help.”
“Come on Boston, Maria made cookies and need to get in there before the ol’ man eats all of ‘em.” Johnny kept walking and ignored his brother.
Shaking his head Scott grabbed all his lists and decided to face the issue head on.
As he entered the kitchen he saw his brother with a cookie in one hand and a glass of milk in the other hand. He was arguing that it wasn’t fair because Murdoch had more of the cookies.
“I have an announcement to make and I am telling you all right now that I expect absolute cooperation.” Lt. Lancer dictated to the occupants of the kitchen.
“Maria and Teresa, I have lists for the food to be served, I realize it will be a lot of work but I am sure some of the other ladies will be able to help.” The ladies stared at Scott like he had grown another head.
He smiled at the ladies and moved to the table where Murdoch and Johnny were still arguing over the distribution of cookies.
“Johnny, you are in charge of providing the turkeys, and ham would also be nice. I’m sure some of the men can help you.” Johnny’s mouth opened but Scott moved on to his father.
“Murdoch, you are in charge of organizing the setting up the tables and chairs, I think under the trees would be nice. Also please pick up any supplies the ladies will need, oh and, would you let Sam and Val know they are invited?”
Before anyone could get in a word, Scott continued.
“I’m going to Sacramento to pick up a package that I had grandfather send. Let me know if any of you need anything, I’m leaving in the morning.” Scott took a deep breath, smiled at the dazed faces, and headed for his room to prepare for his trip.
“What the hell is Thanksgiving?” Johnny asked Murdoch.
“Mouth Johnny.” Murdoch hid his smile behind his cookie. “Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated back East mostly. It isn’t really celebrated in the South or in the West but it means a lot to Scott so let’s just do as he asks.” Murdoch tried to sound like he thought is was a good idea, but really he just wanted to make Scott happy.
“Okay Murdoch,” Johnny wasn’t happy but knew it wouldn’t do any good to fight it. “How many turkeys and pigs do I gotta catch?”
Lancer was a flurry of activity, lots of
cooking going on, and now tables and chairs covered most of the yard under
Johnny, Cip, and Walt got the turkeys and ham as ordered by Lt. Lancer.
Finally Johnny and Murdoch completed their assigned chores but that put them under the command of the ladies, who still needed some help. Johnny didn’t think this was a good thing especially since Maria had beat his butt more than once with her wooden spoon. He tried to tell her he was just testing the food but she didn’t buy it.
Johnny was hating this Thanksgiving thing more and more each day. “Hey Murdoch, when’s Boston gettin’ back and helpin’ with all this work. Hell it’s his damn holiday.”
Murdoch was tempted to scold Johnny about language but could understand his son’s frustration, he also thought Scott should be here helping. The ladies were driving both men crazy.
“I know son, but just think about all the good food, including the cakes and pies the ladies have been making.” Murdoch played the food card.
“Damn Murdoch I’m so tired I don’t think I’ll have enough strength to eat.”
“Somehow son I can’t image you ever being to tired to eat.” Murdoch chuckled as he thought about how much food his younger son could devour at each meal.
Finally Scott drove into the yard, the
buckboard contained a crate on the wagon bed.
“‘Bout time you got your lazy ass back here brother.” Johnny walked up to the wagon and eyed the crate. “What ya got?”
“Just some things to add to the celebration.” Scott hopped down and motioned for help unloading the crate. “But you will have to wait.”
The crate was locked in the guardhouse and Scott said that only he would be unpacking the mystery crate.
“Aw come on Boston, what’s in the box?” Johnny was like a little kid trying to pry the lid off the crate.
Scott smacked his hand than shoved Johnny out the door. “No peeking little brother.” Then Scott slammed the door closed.
Johnny was driving Murdoch crazy with his complaints about Scott keeping him out of the guardhouse. “Johnny if Scott wants to surprise us let him.”
“Au come on Murdoch, we’re working our as...butts off…” but Murdoch just held up his hand and walked off leaving Johnny to stew.
Murdoch secretly enjoyed watching his sons getting ready for their first Thanksgiving.
Scott had the crate brought into the great room and gathered Murdoch, Johnny and the rest of his crew together.
“Thanksgiving always meant a lot to me and now I want to share it with my new family. I am so thankful to have my father and brother in my life after all these year.” Scott smiled at the group in front of him.
Scott moved to the crate and opened it. He pulled out a beautiful linen table cloth, “This belonged to my mother, grandfather told me she always wanted it on the table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and special occasions.” He pointed to a small stain on the cloth, “Mother spilled wine on it, do you remember Murdoch?”
“Yes son I do. I was meeting your grandfather for the first time and was so nervous that I bumped your mother’s arm and she spilled the wine.” Murdoch swallowed the lump in his throat. “We laughed about it but your grandfather wasn’t too pleased.”
“I know, he told me he never used it after that night. I first saw it in the linen closet when I young and thought it was pretty. I guess that’s why he didn’t mind giving to me.” Scott handed the cloth to his father.
“Thank you son, it will be on our table.” Murdoch fingered the soft material. He was so grateful for the memento of his beloved Catherine.
Next he pulled out some costumes, “These are from a play I was in at school, I hoped some of the children might wear them while I told the Thanksgiving story.”
Cip picked up one of the costumes and handed it a little boy, “We would be proud to Senor Scott.”
“Thank you.” Scott appreciated the Segundo’s offer.
Murdoch nodded a thanks to Cip.
Scott returned to the box and pulled out a decorative platter, “This was another object my mother liked to use for special occasions, I thought maybe we could use it for the turkey on the family table.”
Teresa came forward and took the platter. “Thank you Scott.”
He nodded to Teresa, this was more emotional than he expected.
Next was a turkey carved out of wood. The workmanship was crude but everyone knew it was definitely a turkey.
“Hey Boston, that is one ugly turkey.” Johnny teased which eased the mood.
“Yes little brother but since I was just a kid when I carved it you can’t expect artistic excellence.” Scott smiled at Johnny.
“You gonna explain what you just said?” Johnny smiled at Scott.
“I think it will make a nice centerpiece for our table.” Murdoch was so proud of his older son. This was quickly becoming a very special day.
Scott pulled the final item from the box, it was a journal. He pulled out two pieces of paper from the book. “When I was a child in school the teacher asked us to write a paper about being thankful.” Scott took a deep breath, “I didn’t know what to write.”
“I finally decided to write about what I wanted that would make me thankful.” He looked at Murdoch and Johnny. “Do you understand?”
Murdoch nodded and Johnny stared at
“I’d like to read it to you now, since I have so much to be thankful for...my family.”
Scott started reading the first page:
What would make me thankful, by Scott Garrett Lancer.
I wish I could meet my father and go to live with him in California.
My grandfather takes care of me and I am grateful, but I want to be with my father.
If he would come get me I would love him and be a very good son and he would be glad to have me live with him. And he would love me too.
I also wish I could have a little brother, I would protect him and love him. We would ride horses, go fishing, and I would teach him how to play games.
I know I can’t have a brother since my mother died but I still wish there was some way I could make it come true. I know I would be a good big brother.
Maybe someday I will be with my father.
If that could happen I would be very thankful.
Murdoch felt like all the air had been sucked from the room, “Son I am so sorry it took so long for your wish to come true.”
Scott handed the paper to Murdoch, “It was worth the wait. I thought you might like to have this if it doesn’t upset you too much.”
“Thank you son, and I do love you.” Murdoch hugged Scott.
Johnny continued to stare at Scott and Murdoch, he finally found his voice, “You really wanted a little brother?”
“Yes,” he moved from Murdoch to Johnny, “And I’m glad it’s you.” Scott put his arm over Johnny’s shoulders.
“I always wanted a big brother and I’m glad it’s you.” Johnny put his arm over Scott’s shoulder.
Johnny pulled back and looked down at the second piece of paper in Scott’s hand. “What’s on the other paper?”
“Well,” Scott faced Johnny, “This little brother is a list I started of things I wanted to teach my little brother.” Scott chuckled, “However I believe the list requires some additions.”
Everyone in the room but Johnny chuckled.
Scott began reading:
“Number 1, always do what your big brother says, I will keep you out of trouble.”
Murdoch laughed, “Well that hasn’t always worked.” The others in the room laughed also. Johnny put on his little, abused boy pout.
Scott smirked and continued.
“Number 2, if you do get into trouble, I will take care of you.”
“Number 3, girls are icky, always avoid them”
“Number 4, horses are good and fun to ride”
“Number 5, you can always come to me for help”
Scott looked up, “I mean it Johnny.” He handed to paper to his brother.
“Thanks Scott, I’m glad you’re my big brother.” Then Johnny smirked, “We have to talk later about this list.” Johnny waved the paper under Scott’s nose.
Everyone in the room laughed, this was going to be a very special Thanksgiving.
Everyone was seated, the tables were loaded with food and drinks, and Murdoch stood looking at his friends and family.
“I know everyone is hungry so I won’t make a long speech. I just want to thank everyone for being here with me today after many lonely years.” Murdoch paused. “When Scott asked to celebrate Thanksgiving I had my misgivings but I was wrong. Thank you son for bringing us together.”
Everyone clapped, and Murdoch held up his hand and continued.
“Scott, Johnny having you home has fulfilled my dream of sharing Lancer with my sons. I know now that both of you will continue what I have begun, I know you both will make it better.” He smiled at his sons.
Murdoch sensed it was getting very emotional and he wanted to lighten the mood, he continued, “One day I hope there will be grandchildren and that I will be here to watch them grow.” He chuckled when he saw his sons’ expressions. “Lots of grandchildren boys, don’t let me down.”
Everyone laughed and clapped.
“Thank you everyone for all your hard work, now let’s eat.”
Murdoch sat between his sons and looked out among his friends, together on his beloved Lancer, and knew that that the future would just get better.
He had a lot to be thankful for, and he would never forget it.