Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

IMAGE: Norman Rockwell, Freedom From Want, 1943

It's generally quiet here at the house where I grew up. I actually haven't watched TV much since I've been here. Much of the time here has been spent writing and catching up on research.

Yesterday morning I stopped at an independently-owned coffee bar on Main Street known as The Main Cup. It was there that I ran into Susan, a classmate from grade school. We've known each other since we were five years old. She's beautiful, she's vivacious, and she remembers things about me that I don't even know. It appears that meeting with the locals on Wednesday morning is a tradition there. It was great comparing notes again, and to spend an hour reminiscing about the people I knew from childhood. Those are the friends who mean the most over a lifetime, if you are fortunate enough to hang on to them. I should remember this the next time I'm back. After all, my birthday is on a Wednesday.

IMAGE: Norman Rockwell, Saying Grace, 1951

I visit my parents at Cottingham almost every day. Tuesday night was a pizza party with most of the grandsons. (Most of them are heavily into volleyball; not the candy-ass variety you played in the back yard, but the hardcore type of game that is now in the Olympics.) Later today my sister Pat, her husband Ed, and I, will join Mom and Dad at their adopted home. Pat managed to wrangle the use of a (private?) dining room. They have real tables there, and we can sit down and have something that resembles the first Norman Rockwell painting. Now all we have to do is move them both a couple hundred feet and listen to a certain amount of whining. What could go wrong?

I had years when I my Thanksgiving was more like the second painting, Saving Grace, only more alone. No kidding, I'd actually go to a place like IHOP and get something resembling a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, even when I preferred the meatloaf or the chicken fingers. It's the principle of the thing. The late 1990s were the loneliest, I think. Sometimes Paul would join me, when he wasn't with his mother. Over the years it got better. And now that I'm home again, I can be ever more thankful.

After all these years of eschewing anything that smacks of extravagance, the house now has cable TV and free wi-fi. I've got cheese coneys down the road, and radio stations that are more interesting than any in DC.

I sure with Sal was here. She could spend Black Friday at the Tiffany's downtown. Oh well, maybe next year.

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