She’s 17 now, old enough for the sophistication of her palate to begin. So I got her started on foie gras, raw beef of the highest quality, the thing known colloquially as gabagool. Today, while her mother and aunt made preparations for the service tomorrow, we walked from our AirBnB in Port Royal, SC to the fish house at the water on 11th Street where, for the first time in her life, she ate raw oysters.

I showed her how to do it, with a gentle squeeze of lemon and a dab of strong cocktail sauce, like a pro.

“Oh yeah,” she said, after slurping the first one straight from the shell.

There’s a long boardwalk here in Port Royal that meanders through the marsh along a fishing pier and through the oyster beds. At the end stands a five-story observation tower called the Eagle’s Nest, made entirely of wood and vandalized by local miscreants with both spray-paint and fire. Last night we watched a glorious magenta sunset from the top level as it shifted and groaned from our collective weight.

The other two of my children are due here later today, down from the mountains in Boone for this brief ceremonial stop before Thanksgiving in Greensboro. Uncle Jack and Teddy got in late last night, and the rest will be trickling in today as we get closer to noon tomorrow, when we finally lay the man to rest.

I petitioned for a turkey-free Thanksgiving this year, but I was outvoted by the traditionalists, who insisted on at least a small bird to go with the gravy and mashed potatoes. I’m making beef bourguignon — which is almost easier to prepare than it is to spell — for 20, which is as much to distract us from the man’s absence as anything else.

But we think about him at sunset, which we watch from the edge of the water, last night and tonight and tomorrow night for sure. They have a sunset every day out here, I understand.

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