Just because you're crazy doesn't mean you're wrong.
Drying her hands on the apron at her waist she called out over the noise of football in the living room.
"Bill! Seth and Jill are here. You and Amy go outside and help them in"
Susan rushed to the window as well. "Oh mother, I'm so glad they could make it too," she said, grabbing Carol in a long hug.
"Well, you girls haven't seen each other in far too long. “ Carol said. “When your sister said the drive was too far I just put my foot down and made them come."
Carol followed Susan out to the front porch where the falling snow cast a gleaming haze among the pines, flowing brushstrokes of white covering over the dark shoulders of the mountains.
"Hurry up you people!" Carol called out hugging herself and stomping her feet, as if the dance could ward off the cold. "Get those kiddos inside."
Amy, Susan's partner, rushed past carrying a large suitcase followed by Bill similarly burdened. Bill paused long enough to give Carol a peck on the lips.
"Don't they look great?" he said before rushing in from the cold.
Behind them came Jill carrying 4 year old Amanda, and Susan with 5 month old Michael, bundled inside a puffy red jump suit, his chubby face just visible inside the hood.
Behind them all puffed Jill's husband Seth. Arms loaded with diaper bags and play pen, he wobbled up the path his leather business shoes slipping in the snow.
"Seth, for goodness sake, you'll break your neck in those shoes." Carol chided as he made his way up the stairs.
"Yea, thanks Carol." he muttered under his breath.
Once inside, the unbundling of the children and their vast array of accessories began. Unwrapped, each child was handed around the circle of adults for the usual inspection and cuddling.
While Carol played with baby Michael, Jill came over and gave Bill a hug.
"Daddy, you look great," she said, pulling away and holding him at arm's length.
"And when is Uncle Ronald going to get here?"
"I guess you haven't checked your phone lately have you?" Bill said, putting his arm around Jill.
"He's having another one of his episodes" he said.
"Are you kidding me, on Thanksgiving?!” Jill said raising her voice.
"You know, he's never even met Michael! Ohh, I cannot believe he would pull this. On Thanksgiving even."
"Now calm down." Bill said. "People with his condition aren't always in control of themselves. In fact it’s a perfect example of something all the rest of us can be thankful for this weekend."
"Oh, I guess you're right daddy." Jill said, hugging her father again.
Behind them Susan's golden retriever Max began to scamper about the room, having been released from his crate in the back bedroom. Amanda was busy chasing him, her giggles echoing through the room.
"What’s going on?" Susan asked side stepping the dog and joining the conversation with Jill and her father.
"We were just discussing my brother." Bill said pursing his lips.
"Can you believe Uncle Ronald?" Susan said. "Daddy, have you told Jill why he won't come?"
"No. I didn't really see the point. He's off in his own world and talking about it won't make our holiday any better. So I think we should just let it go and concentrate on the family we have here."
As if she hadn't heard a word her father said Susan continued.
"He thinks there’s an asteroid going to destroy New Mexico." she giggled. "Is that not the nuttiest thing you've ever heard?"
"What? Really? “ Jill said. “That's his reason for not coming to Thanksgiving? An asteroid?"
"Really daddy, he's just making this stuff up to skip out on family get togethers. What was it last time? A terrorist attack on Seattle and before that a nuclear power plant melt down?"
Mixing a large scotch and water with her finger Amy joined the conversation.
"In his defense” Amy said, “there WAS that terrorist cell arrested in Seattle right after he said that."
She imitated the Twilight Zone music theme.
"Oh cut it out", Susan said giving her a playful shove.
"Whoa.. You’ll spill my drink" Amy said, balancing the amber fluid in her highball glass.
In the living room, Michael had begun to scream, Carol bouncing him on her knee fruitlessly.
"He just started crying." she said, passing the baby off to Seth who seemed equally unsuccessful at calming the baby’s wails.
Max, still being chased in circles by Amanda, had now begun yelping as he made his loops around the furniture.
"Max! No! No!" Susan shouted, running after Max; appearing to join in the game of chase.
As the noise in the room escalated, Amy walked to the picture window overlooking the front yard. She stared in confusion as a fiery red glow began to spread behind the white fog of falling snow. Beneath her feet a deep rumble grew in strength, becoming an audible roar.
"Well shit." she said taking a long drink from her glass. "I guess Ron was right."