Well, for the majority of you who have only to worry about having enough chairs and enough turkey for Thanksgiving, I say, BRAVO! Enjoy and savor having another year to get together with friends and loved ones.
As is probably the case with most of you, there have also been funny ones, angry ones, poignant ones and, on occasion, scary ones. That’s the way that life goes for each of us.
Telling secrets out of turn, I’ll say that as a little kid growing up with a famous father who drank too much, the Thanksgivings were things that would have benefited from seat belts on the chairs. Not sure why, but my Dad really seemed to hate Thanksgiving. Every single year he’d pick a fight over some detail he didn’t like about the food. Then, as they say, a fight would break out.
One Thanksgiving, we were having another best-selling writer to dinner, only everyone in the family had pretty much had it. I was about twelve at the time and….if you’ve ever seen the movie, Harold and Maude, I was a teensy bit like Harold. After about an hour of sitting quietly next to my dad, pontificating, I got bored.
In classic MacGyver-style, I began looking around the table for components to build…something. I had aluminum foil from the mashed potato. I had a candle right in front of me, dripping wax. I had a paper napkin which I rolled into a long tiny snake, and…Mom had put out the decorative matches. My intent at the time was just to build the stink bomb, not actually use it. But then when I had completed it…almost on cue, Mom removed the sack of stuffing from inside the turkey. I looked at her to see if she was giving me a wink or something. She wasn’t. Still, it seemed like fate was beckoning me on. In went the baseball-sized aluminum foil ball, with the wax-coated napkin sticking out.
Dad had begun droning on into a long dissertation on something and I played at lighting the “fuse”, just to keep from nodding off. And then…suddenly…it was lit and moving fast toward the turkey. Before I could even think, “oh shit,” PPPFFFFSSSSSTTT!!!! as a blue-grey cloud blasted out of the wrong end of the turkey. Dad’s head didn’t even move. His eyes just darted to me and I knew I was done for.
In retrospect, was it worth it? Do I regret it? I do not. FWIW, our dinner guest was laughing like hell. My brother and sister and mother were trying not to grin. And to tell you the truth, that was one of our better Thanksgivings.
Want to hear a lousy one? It’s real quick: It was the time of Viet Nam. I had just enlisted and was 10 days into OTS, Officer Training, at Medina AFB, San Antonio, Texas, doing pretty accurately what the movie, Officer and a Gentleman displayed. Miserable to the Nth degree. Then Thanksgiving day: We marched to the chow hall in bitter cold, got a tray with some slop that vaguely smelled like turkey, at which point you sat, looked only at your plate and wolfed it all down in the four minutes allotted. That was pretty lousy.
Which brings us to this week. Many of you are worrying if a fight will break out due to politics. We don’t have to worry about that, because Pam is going into the hospital in about three hours to have her current hip sawed off, to be replaced with a metal one. I’m guessing her meal will be clear and going directly into her veins. But that’s not all folks!!! See, she has lymphedema, contracted when she got cancer last year and that makes everything a bit more complicated (detect the understatement?), so it will be two weeks of rehab…sort of sleep-away camp with PT. But that’s not all folks. In the process of testing for surgery, we found the results of some cardio-infarction had occurred along the way, that’s a tepid term for heart attack, soooo…we’ve been seeing if she’s up to the operation. Looks like she is!!!
But…that’s still not all folks! Seems like a whole lot of the south has been burning, and the Asheville area’s been included. On and off for the past week, we’ve been hiding indoors, because outside it’s too smoky to breathe the air. Plus ya gotta worry about the possibility of evacuation.
Soooo: With all that in mind, the one tiny present I can send to you is the ability to sit down this year with your loved ones, bury the hatchet once and for all with the quibbling, raise your glass of wine and say, “Hey guys, you think we have it bad? I got a little story to tell.”
Strange but true, and the truth is, most folks really need to know sometimes that people are having it as bad, possibly worse.
Pam and I are looking forward to putting this in the rear view, but for now, we’re taking it hour by hour. For what we’ve been through together, I hope you can wish us well.
Thank you to all our friends!!! Let’s make a date in the near future to get together physically or electronically and give a toast to LIFE, our Loved Ones! and our beloved Country. Let’s continue to attempt to be the best country in the world.
Big, Big Hug!
Sean and I are sending our love and vibes for a safe procedure and quick healing vibe. Some Thanksgivings really suck. I have had a couple of doozies but I won’t bore you with the details. Blessings to you and Pam, this year has been a tough one despite your move to your Paris of the South.
Thinking of you always,’
Debbie and Sean
Hey Debbie and Sean,
Thanks for the good vibes. Pam’s out of surgery now and…so far…so good. I wrote a huge YES!!! on her right leg and a huge NO!!! on the left one, just to make sure. The surgeon smiled and nodded, which I hope is a good sign.
The expression about walking in someone else’s moccasins applies here. You laid your soul bare and it breaks my heart for what you and Pam are going through. In the overall scheme of things, nothing ranks as important as the well being of our mate. I know. I don’t do praying too well but I can hold really good thoughts for Pam and for you. “Good Medicine” my friend.
I had someone write in and assure me that having a hip replaced is a snap. No point in setting people straight, but it took 6 months of seeing doctors to set up the “snap” and a small orchestra of doctors and nurses to do it. The lymphedema made everything much more complicated. Bottom line: Prognosis is very good. In addition to a host of other relationships Pam and I have, the one of caretaker and therapist has risen to the top this year. The following weeks will be about 99% that role, but it’s worth every second. Not terribly adept a praying either. When challenged with Bible quotes, I reply, God helps those who help themselves. Thank you so much for writing, Phil!
I’m hoping by now that the surgery is over, all went well, there were no complications and you guys are calmly talking to each other. Love to you both, Happy Thanksgiving
Thanks for thinking of us. So far, so good with the prognosis. I’ve been Pam’s therapist and caretaker with the lymphedema for about a year now. That set me up well, with the 4-6 weeks we’ll be doing in recovery. It’s the lymphedema that complicates everything, but spirits are high and life is good!
Happy Thanksgiving Henry and Pam. Your old friend, Bob.
Thanks for thinking of us. It was a weird Thanksgiving, sharing a plate of turkey stuff at the hospital, but the prognosis is good and it looks like six weeks or so and Pam will be back in action.
Happy Thanksgiving to you my man! Thankful to have your stuff to read
mostly weekly. I don’t keep track. As my Kristen would say, I’m 48 going
on 100. Meneires disease with deafness and tinnitus, both hips replaced
and just had cataracts out this summer. I feel fucking great. Tell Pam she
will LOVE her new hip. If you are not happy with your doctor go see Bo
Mason in Charlotte at OrthoCarolina. He is the tops. FYI just heard On NBC
news that it costs us $2 million a day for Secret Service to protect
Orange head and family. Yay. What a D bag
Do you qualify for Bionic Dude yet???
I’ve had the Meneires, have the tinnitus, and have hyper accusis in the other ear soooo…one ear is hissing and the other hears way too much. That Meneires made me wonder if I was going nuts. Sounded like a radio playing.
Thanks for the kind words. So far……so good.
Give Pam a hug!
Is she going Rehab?
Hey Deb! Thanks for thinking of us.
We lucked out. Surgery is AOK and apparently rehab is coming to us. They were out just this morning and it went well. Have fun on your trip!
I have been thinking of you…
Every time we’re reminded on the news if the wildfires down yonder, I wonder about the fate
of Asheville. I surely hope and pray that threat passes soon.
I am currently on a medical leave due to crappy hips, as well. I have been getting
cortisone shots for years for spinal stenosis, squishy discs, rib arthritis, and God knows what
else back there….but, what amazes me is that less than 2 months ago, I was reasonably
fine – teaching, weeding, playing,…and, now, barely getting around with a walker.
I’m not bringing all this up to upstage Pam’ situation, but, rather to empathize.
I am one more shot away from a replacement ( BTW Henry, thanks for the graphic
Hey Mary Lou,
Yup this getting older is…what’s the word…problematic. Sorry to hear of your problems cropping up, but it sure beats the alternative, at least one of them.
Because of the lymphedema, Pam’s operation was far from being a snap. Six months worth of going around between specialists to see if we could even do it and then a bunch of extra people in the OR, just in case.
But…so far, so good. I’m her caretaker and have been for about a year. The next six weeks that will become more acute, more concentrated. Honored to do it.
That is so great to hear! Big hug to you and Pam, we love you!
Now the therapy and healing begins. Happy to be in this phase.
Your blog touched each of my emotions, the humorous recollection from your past, then the perspective of being a soldier, and then the realization that we have much to be thankful for.
Thank you for your very kind e-mail.
The past week has felt like a month, but the good news is that Pam’s surgery went well and we are now in therapy mode.
Thanks so much for your thoughts.
Just had time to read this Henry. You both will be in my prayers. Please keep us all posted.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
What a funny story about you and Thanksgiving years ago, but I am worried about Pam. Wish you had told me about Pam having a hip replacement, I have had BOTH of my done, if it is not over yet, don’t let them cut quadricep muscle, it heals in half the time, and there is no pain involved like most people have. It goes much faster for the Dr. and heals much slower for the patient. Anyway I wish her all the good luck there is.We are in Fla. at one of the houses my daughter and son in law have bought for investment (to rent out except when they are here) and go back to Atlanta Sunday, and then to NJ Tues. I will pray for all to be well with Pam, your friend Phyllis
Glad you got a smile out of the pyrotechnics.
Pam’s doing okay and you’re right with the way to do the surgery. Now they call it anterior and posterior surgery. If they do the posterior, they cut a whole bunch of flesh and muscle…long recover. Anterior, however, approaches from the front and is less intrusive. That’s what Pamela received.
She’s home now and I’m spending 99.9% of my time, taking care of her and making sure she doesn’t trip, fall, slide, slip or much of anything for a while.
You sound good! Hope all continues to be two-thumbs up for you.
Hi dear Henry
I want you to know that me & su from this side of the world wishing best cure, and health for dear Pam, and praying for both of you. Please say hello, and give a warm hug to her, and remember there is a source of light in the end of this dark grimed tunnel smiling to you.
happy thanks giving day
remote old friends Mo. Su.
Hi Mo and Su,
Thank you for your kindness over the years…decades. I wonder what the world would be like if the generations who have lived long enough to find wisdom could do just one thing: pass their wisdom on to their children. That one thing would send us light years ahead of where we are. And yet, here we are fighting the same old problems that we as a species have always had. Technology moves forward…and that’s about it.
At any rate, my very best to you old friend.