It was another clear day in the town where all manner of Muppets and humans lived together, if a bit chilly due to cold winds beginning to blow. And as nice as the outside looked, it went unnoticed due to the activity happening inside the home of the theater's piano-playing dog. His wife, Wanda, a sensible calico cat was running the vacuum cleaner across her home's tiled floor ready to switch to mop and bucket for one last cleaning before company decided to arrive. She had volunteered to host the Thanksgiving dinner this year, asking that the guests help out by contributing some of the sundried side dishes. "Hey mom," called out their son from his room. "What is it Alex?" she answered back. "Can I invite a date over?" "Sure…," she started to answer, "who is she?" "Puffy." "Is that the cheerleader you went out with to the movies last summer?" "Yep, that's her all right." "Of course she can come." "Thanks mom." Wanda purred pleased with herself, thinking how nice it was her boy was getting along so well with a girl of his own. She flashed back to when she was their age. Done with the floors, she went upstairs to her master suite for a quick bath and a change of clothes. Given that the turkey had been prepared yesterday, this gave her enough time to finish dressing in time to greet the first couple of guests at their door personally. ----------- The parade was in full festive swing, floats of varying franchises driven down the bustling city streets. Citizens and visitors alike lined the sidewalks in hopes of grabbing the perfect spot to watch everything. The first of these presented a proud blue-armored robotic warrior, his eager transformative dog barking in delight at the kids who cheered their appearance. Next came what looked like an ancient castle, the music sweeping identified this most magical of all landscapes with their spellcasting students. Because they had to share the float last time, the Warner siblings—all three of them—were happier at having a parade vehicle all to themselves now, their signature water tower serving as the rear turret for launching confetti at the crowd. Not to be outdone, a cloud of purple smoke shot out cloaking the following float in its fearsome fog, the avian crimefighter set on having his moment in the spotlight. Fans clapped as another float came around the corner—you had to clap—the song sung by the colorful creatures inside the open cavelike enclosure was that infectious. Without warning, an impressive golden pirate ship wheeled its way along the parade route, its specially skilled crew still in search of the legendary Gold Rogers' treasure. After that came an ornate Chinese dragon head, attached to the body of the float where the members of the Long family (in dragon form) felt at home since this town wasn't all that different or far from NYC. The next entry showcased a beautiful bride blowing kisses before cutting into the wedding cake—even if the entire wedding party was composed of skeletal corpses. Owing to how much fun they had had less than a month ago, the Pumpkin King with a skeletal grin had been granted a reprieve, allotting him a stage for his demonic denizens to perform their own holiday anthem. Following them was a woodland scene, a blue spiked hedgehog running on a central treadmill lane satisfying his constantly craved need for speed. An eerie aria played, ushering the crumbling inner sanctum underground library, finishing as the decrepid host popped up from his comfortable coffin like a demented jack-in-the-box. An enlargened lasagna pan on rollers lazily proceeded, the fat orange cat lounging on an inflated noodle raft in its middle batted a paw at his adoring fans. An arena followed that, two trainers poised to do battle, a yellow rodent bristling with electricity crackling off of its whisker and tail tips. And wouldn't you know it... One of the town regulars had to get in on the act. Donning a red wig, she trailed them doggedly—her own dogs trailing her in turn—failing to snatch the rodent into her hovering hot air balloon. But the applause became deafening when the famed amphibian arrived in front of a recreation of their town hall, decorated with props representing the Hensonian productions from over the years, singing his new Christmas classic "I Believe". Only one float left, instrumental guitar rifts played out the retreating form of the satellite's inner bridge where you could see the wisecracking interstellar movie hecklers. ------------ Wanda put down a platter of garlic mushrooms and cheese-stuffed peppers as an offering of appetizers for those who were watching the parade on the living room's television set. Sara awed with obvious delight, Scooter picking up on the smaller background details. Walter whooped at Kermit's rendition. Wanda often joked she would leave her husband for the Muppet troop's newest addition, though there was no real truth to it, so she used the line whenever she could. The theater's phantoms even managed to drop by, bringing a bag of ice for the fridge. Alex and Puffy were talking up a storm over in their little corner. And then Rowlf finally came in from wherever he'd gone off to. "Hey guys, look who the dog dragged in," he announced, as Boss Frog and Lady Hog themselves entered the quaint abode. Now that most of the party was at the table, they could dig into the feast. Rowlf reached for the knives to carve up the main meat. "uh, aren't you forgetting something Rowlfie?" his wife asked. "Oh yeah, almost forgot." Sitting back, the big dog tried to quell the conversations. Since it was useless, he looked at Floyd for assistance. The basist knew his cue, yanking on Animal's chain for the drummer to belt out his standard "QUIIIIIEEEEEEET! ! !" "…and then I said, look buddy, I don't care how far apart you want me to spread my…sorry," Janice muttered. "Okay guys," Rowlf began. "This family has a tradition for Thanksgiving. Instead of saying grace..." "Grace!" cried the bear comedian, not one to miss a mark. Dora gently shushed him, allowing the host to continue. "What we do is each say one thing we're each thankful for. I'll start. I'm thankful for a good family and a good life." "I'm thankful that we're all together, spending time like a family should," Wanda spoke, second in line. The hostess motioned for the line to carry on, "no stopping this train now it's left the station" she thought. "I'm thankful for all the woooonderful people who've made Moi's season positively radiant." "I'm glad my jokes didn't fall flat." "I'm thankful to Mrs. Bear for reintroducing us." "I'm thankful for that chance to pull off some insane stunts underground." "My uncle says he's thankful to the Muppets—and all the revenue they've generated." "Mee mee moo meepy-meep-mee-mee-moo." "I'm glad for that trip to Vegas where I met my baby." "Vegas! Vegas!" "I give thanks for another green Christmas." "Thanksgiving, a more patriotic holiday there couldn't be." "Hey, about the music? The band needs another number!" "Most indubitably, my fellow sergeant-at-arms." "Yeah, I'm thankful my band got that huge record deal." "Hi is tankful for all the fine ladies here okay." "Get your own date shrimp." Every Muppet had a turn—thankful that the giving thanks were over and finally feasting on the goodies provided for the meal. Hey, what do you expect, they were hungry by this time! While watching the good-natured babbling, eating, and laughing, a song found its way unbidden into the calico's head. Unknown to anyone, she started singing it in her sweet internal voice. "There are places I remember. All my life, though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments. With lovers and friends. I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living. In my life I've loved them all. But of all these friends and lovers. There is no one compares with you. And these memories lose their meaning. When I think of love as something new. Though I know I'll never lose affection. For people and things that went before. I know I'll often stop and think about them. In my life I love you more. Though I know I'll never lose affection. For people and things that went before. I know I'll often stop and think about them. In my life I love you more. In my life I love you more." *A/N: Sorry this one was also posted late. Thanks to Aunt Ru for providing the song for this fic. This one I dedicate to Beth (redBoobergurl), hope she and all other readers like it.