THE GIVING OF THANKS


Why do we set aside only one day a year to say thank you to those we love? The old children’s story about the Pilgrims and the Indians being the cause for Thanksgiving has fallen by the wayside long ago, Were the Pilgrims thankful that they survived the day with their scalps intact? I doubt they formed a close knit neighborhood group thereafter, or met for coffee once a week. But History does tell us that the Indians were helpful in getting the Pilgrims settled into their new homes, and we hear of no immediate property disputes between them, so all must have gone well at the dinner table.

Today we dutifully cook the same meal our forebears made traditional; turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and the ubiquitous pumpkin pie—whether we like it or not. It’s a tribute of love to family and friends. An opportunity to gather around a table and share not only the fruits of our effort, but tales of the past, and a reiteration of how much we love and appreciate one another. We tend to show love for others by feeding them, and if that is so, the enormous quantity of food at Thanksgiving must deliver a powerful message of love. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

ONE MAN’S JUNK


When I woke up this morning I thought of households all over America cleaning up after the Thanksgiving celebration yesterday. All the good dishes, linen tablecloths and silverware or whatever choices the family took, have to be put back in their place today, while the turkey carcass is put to simmer on the back of the stove for the soup to come.

We left all this work quietly waiting for us while we set out for the local thrift store to find a small picture frame. People frequently give away small picture frames suitable for 5×7 photos, so while digging through piles of them you may find a treasure. You remember the old saying: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.

Today is designated “Black Friday” for some reason. All stores are open with the lights on, so they aren’t black. I don’t remember when the whole thing started, but it’s a reason for normally sensible people to dash out of their homes in the middle of the night to get a good place in a long line in front of all kinds of stores simply to get a bargain. I don’t think they really care what they buy as much as how much they save. It’s an awesome sight to see.

When we got to the thrift store it was apparent that they participate in “Black Friday” too. Dr. A found a couple of picture frames for the one he accidentally broke, and I found a box of white plastic coat hangers 24 of which cost me $1. I had donated a box of them last year, so maybe these were my old ones.

I sat on my trusty walker watching the crowd and categorizing the shoppers. There were those who possibly needed to shop there, and others who were looking for a bargain. When a post-middle aged man walked by carrying a rubber wet suit, I realized a grandson would be surprised on Christmas morning. A small family of parents and two little girls bubbled past me with the father carrying a three-story doll house while the little girls danced alongside.

A sexy young Mexican girl took a bright red silky dress off the hanger, on her way to the dressing room. She will undoubtedly make an entrance at a holiday party. A black leather jacket made its way to the checkstand for $60.

One lady found several decorated tin trays for her cookie exchange–3 for $4. Then the prize of the day. I’m not sure what it was or what the lady planned to do with it, but it was a tall, 3 ft. decorative metal conical object with no apparent use. While I was waiting to pay for my purchase I mentally decorated it with greenery and berries and a red bird on top and called it a Christmas tree. I should have been there first.

THE VEIL WAS THIN


Happy Day of the Dead” doesn’t sound right for some reason, though for those who celebrate it, I’m sure it is a grand occasion. Ignorant as I am, with such strong Protestant beginnings, I had never heard of it. My religious grandmother even refused to admit that the Irish side of our family probably were Catholic.

My first recollection of Halloween was dressing in a Dutch Girl costume at the age of 7 and offering my handmade paper basket to a neighbor to drop some candy in. There was probably only room for a piece or two of penny candy but I thought it great fun to be out at night and knocking on someone’s door. I don’t remember anyone giving me candy, so I think I simply knocked and ran.

Living in so many places afterward, I was never able to do this again, and I don’t remember any costumed urchins coming to our houses either, so Halloween was never a big deal in our house. My father loved to tell stories of his youth in Grants Pass, Oregon, when tricks such as tipping outhouses over were performed. I don’t think candy was involved.

When my children arrived, Halloween became a much awaited holiday, and the making of costumes fell to me. As the years went by, the costumes became more elaborate, and not to be left out, I found myself in the spirit of the season.

My idea of a Halloween outfit leaned toward the Frankenstein rather than beauty, and my neighbor and I had far too much fun frightening small tricksters.

One of my daughters loved Halloween so much, and I felt bad for her the year she became ill and couldn’t join the others on the street. Eventually she dressed in her costume and sat on a table in front of a large window where children who came onto our porch could watch her and wonder if she was real or not.

Our house is situated so that in forty-two years no one has come to collect booty, however I carefully choose large bags of candy to hand out, making sure they are the kind we like just in case. This morning I bagged them back up and put them in the freezer. I know from experience that they will last until sometime in February.