The invasion of the in-laws will peak around noon today at our house, when about 15 of us will encounter enough food for two bowl-bound football teams. The ham, turkey, dressing, greens, ambrosia, sweet potato casserole, etc. will be abundant.
In addition, the Long Family of Southwest Georgia has a tradition of dedicating some large, flat surface as the “goody table.”
It will provide between-meal offerings of roasted pecans (that “PEE-cans” in South Ga., and “pa-kahns” for North Georgians like me), chocolate-covered peanuts (pronounced the same statewide), butterscotch fudge, Chex mix (my mother’s recipe which she called “nuts and bolts”), dipped pretzels, a Chocolate layer cake courtesy of the Halls and much, much more.
(An actual photo would have been posted but I couldn’t get my brother-in-law, Scott, away from the peanut brittle long enough for a clear snapshot.)
Throughout the day, as we gather around the dinner table and each time I pass the goody table, my hope is the words of a restaurant manager I worked for in high school will ring through my head: “Portion control! Portion control!”
Regardless of my willpower, it will be good to be with those who have become my family — through marriage and offspring — over the past quarter century.
I’ll also remember with appreciation my family of origin, especially my father who on this date 80 years ago was born in a simple farm house near Rock Spring, Ga. He will mark this milestone in the presence of the One our celebrations of the season are really all about.

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