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!