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We go inside again

Coming onto Thanksgiving, heralded by the stone crop of Canada geese in the cut cornfields, by red-aproned Hymie's fresh-turkey declamation behind the counter down the sloping wooden floor in Ayer, the days tighten up. November skies penciled, cold and blowy. Rhododendron curl like umbrellas, parchment oak remains after the last lilac leaf is yanked. The dog sheds on the weather stripping at the kitchen door. We go inside again. It's always a nice change. The cats like the fire.

Thursday morning the strange unsliced bread is pulled apart like burrs, Bell's seasoning emits the house perfume from its kitchen-gummy box. ''It's almost Christmas,'' the small helper says, wrongly, having crushed at least seven cranberry pellets into the linoleum. Guests come, dressed in plaid, with pies, and we talk and eat in an incandescent gratitude for the simple trinity of friends, family, and food before us.

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