Constable: Family has gotten smaller, but gratitude keeps growing

  • From left, Ben, Will and Ross made the extra effort to come home this summer for Fountain Park Chautauqua and stay for their mom's birthday celebration.

    From left, Ben, Will and Ross made the extra effort to come home this summer for Fountain Park Chautauqua and stay for their mom's birthday celebration. Courtesy of Cheryl terHorst

  • Nothing says "2020 Pandemic Thanksgiving" more than Ross, from left, Ben and Will wearing masks as they team up to play a video game.

    Nothing says "2020 Pandemic Thanksgiving" more than Ross, from left, Ben and Will wearing masks as they team up to play a video game. Courtesy of Cheryl terHorst

  • Men with exciting careers and possibilities, Ben, from left, Ross and Will revert to lots of their childhood activities when they come home for Christmas, including agreeing to pose for their mom's photos.

    Men with exciting careers and possibilities, Ben, from left, Ross and Will revert to lots of their childhood activities when they come home for Christmas, including agreeing to pose for their mom's photos. Burt Constable | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted11/25/2021 5:20 AM

On a cold but snowless Thanksgiving in 1995, my wife, Cheryl, gave birth to twins Ross and Ben, propelling us on a parental pilgrimage that got even more fun when we added Will in 1999. This column, as it has for every Thanksgiving since, offers a full plate of thanks. This year, I am thankful for:

• The way all three sons made it home from three different states for last year's Thanksgiving that was wonderful, even if dinner was served outside next to a fire pit and the cold made our COVID-19 masks a welcome addition to our winter wardrobe.

 

• The way our boys got to visit with Grandpa Paul before he died in December at age 85 and rekindle stories of spending Father's Day at the classic car shows.

• The way all of them keep Grandma Jean, Grandpa Willy, Grandma Lois and Uncle Bill in their hearts, too, and can always find a memory that makes my wife and me smile.

• The way all three boys made it to rural Indiana in July for our traditional gathering at the Constable cabin at Fountain Park Chautauqua.

• Their effort to extend their trip a few days to celebrate their mom's birthday, which has become a very fun tradition.

• The way Ross not only makes a living as a filmmaker in Los Angeles, but also got one of his films included in an installation at the Internationale Videokunst Zur Urbanisierung Von Landschaft in Kiel, Germany.

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• The way Will got to hang with Ross in Germany, after Will finished his stint working with a French family in the Pyrenees and Ross wrapped up his work at the Paris Fashion Week.

• The way Ben finally got back into the middle school classroom in Boston in the spring after managing to teach math virtually.

• The way Ben found a new job in the fall, and got a signing bonus, to teach high school physics in Boston, where he lives in a very hip neighborhood where he can run and bike.

• The outdoor ceremony at Earlham College that allowed us to watch Will accept his diploma for earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy.

• The way we are so thrilled that all three sons make the extra effort to come home for this Thanksgiving, even if we politely point out that buying tickets at the last minute is a lot more expensive than buying early.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• The way my beautiful wife has built an accomplished career as a writer, mostly handling complex medical issues, and still finds time during this pandemic to handle details of her dad's estate with her sisters, Karen and Laurie, volunteer as an elementary school tutor, and be the rock upon which our family appreciation for everything she does grows every year.

• The way that dealing with the family farm in Indiana has given my sisters, Sally and Nancy, and me more chances to be there in person and spend more time on the phone.

• The realization that even with his oboe and keyboard, Ben's longing for a "cool" instrument led him to the electric bass guitar, and all the computerized music he can make with it.

• The way Ross beams when he introduces his friends to the family farm.

• The way Will's sourdough breadmaking has turned into a thing we can't live without.

• The new orange hair on Ross.

• The way Ben developed a plan to pay off his student loans.

• The way Will and his partner, Aza, behave so politely when they and Cheryl trounce me in games of Cataan.

• Those wonderful moments when three sons in three states make time to play an online video game together as one team.

• Those more wonderful moments when each of our sons makes time to talk to his parents.

As our family celebrates today, we hope you and yours can compose a similar list for which to give thanks.

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