The Hound of the Basketballs and I are downstairs. Mrs. M and the Spawn are still abed at the moment, getting a bit more rest before the day’s activities. We’re having guests for dinner this afternoon: The Spawn’s sorority Big Sister (whose family is in Colorado) and my friend (and occasional commenter) Nick from the History department will be joining us.
They may be in for a bit of a surprise when they arrive, however. When Mrs. M went out yesterday to buy a turkey breast (we’re a white meat family), she was out of luck. None of Mondoville’s three groceries had one — apparently a lot of folks caught on to what we’ve done for years. And the turkey we received from the college (a campus tradition) is too frozen to prepare — I think it may have been dipped in liquid nitrogen. So we’re having our usual cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, various veggies… and ham. (Dirty little secret: I actually prefer ham to turkey, so I’m pleased.)
But I’ve had other odd Thanksgivings over the years. One year, my brother was working as a deckhand for a barge line, and was somewhere on the upper Mississippi on Thanksgiving, and my folks didn’t want to prepare a big dinner if we couldn’t all be there. So my parents, Mrs. M and I had our Thanksgiving dinner on a dinner cruise on a riverboat in Cincinnati. The good news was that none of us had to do any work, other than making trips through the buffet line, and the food was quite good. The downside? No leftovers.
Much darker was our Thanksgiving in 2009, when Mrs. M and I drove to Northern Kentucky in the hope of doing some work clearing a few more things out of my parents’ house after the murders that summer. It was a cold and rainy day, and when we got there, we realized that the vast majority of the work that needed doing was beyond our capabilities. But we did what we could (having driven three hours from my in-laws’), carrying more things out to the storage pod, and when we were done, we were cold, wet, and grimy… and hungry. Mrs. M and I had our Thanksgiving dinner that year at the Cracker Barrel in Florence, KY, before we drove back to her family’s home in the mountains. Although I had grown up there, I felt a little like a foreigner, and with my family of origin now largely gone, I may never shake that feeling, another echo of The Big Noise.
But today is a day for gratitude, as I guess nearly all of them should be. And I’m grateful to have a home and a job I enjoy, and for the surplus that allows us to share our home and food with others. I’m grateful for my friends and family, both here and elsewhere. I’m thankful for words and music, and whatever small talent I have with both that allows me to decorate pieces of time in my life and the lives of others. And I’m grateful for this day, that allows me to practice mindfulness in that gratitude, for reminding me I should be thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.