Okay. That didn’t happen. It was crisp in the early morning--I think, Smudge and I were slug-a-beds--on its way to 68 degrees without a cloud in the sky. It has been nearly a decade since I hosted Thanksgiving dinner; I don’t even have a dining room table. And any thought of that particular Thanksgiving vision ever happening vanished almost two decades ago. It’s okay; don’t cry for me, Argentina.
I’m not sure how eating too much got wrapped up in this holiday. Well, yes, I guess I do--that whole pilgrim and Native American thing we reenacted in grade school every year: the white paper aprons, black paper top hats, and colorful paper feather headdresses that were our art project in the preceding weeks. The long table filled with food around which everyone gathered--the Norman Rockwell one with the gray-haired grandmother holding the turkey and multi-generations of white faces leaning in laughing, happy to be one with aunts and uncles and cousins. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has had to re-vision the day.
Last year in this space in Gratitudes Large and Small, I recorded what I was grateful for each day during Thanksgiving week. I read back through it on Thursday, and with one notable exception, pretty much nothing has changed in my life--right down to clean sheets on the bed! Next year there will be a new grandchild and officially a new daughter-in-law. That is exciting, and I give thanks for the anticipation.
But back to this year. As I eat my pecan waffles for breakfast, I am entertained by the cat watching the mourning dove glaring down at the squirrel eating the bird seed I didn’t put out for either one of them. A titmouse is pecking at the last bit of suet in the feeder at the window. Need to put in a new one today. I finish my second cup of coffee, putz around a bit, then head out of the house in the late morning with my camera to see what gratitudes I can capture. I dress too warmly, hoping it isn’t really October heading for September outside. I call my mother from the cemetery, and hear that she is not enjoying the windy rainy weather that I am wishing for; and is envious of what I am disappointed with. That makes me laugh. I place a rose from my garden on Mary Minges' resting place and say a prayer of gratitude for our garden that brings me such joy.
What follows is a collection of what my camera and I gather: the whimsy, beauty, and activity in my neighborhood. What my camera doesn't record are the laughing voices of children hidden within the walls of a house; the two dressed-for-visiting men and their little dog being welcomed at the door and the sounds of “Happy Thanksgiving, come in!” to a woman arriving alone at another house; the smell of a turkey on the grill and the sweet aroma of pumpkin pie on down the street; the white-white tree that standing under transports me to another universe, so breathtaking is its beauty and grandeur. I thought it would make me sad to be out walking and observing, and it is a bit of an out-of-body experience, like Scrooge observing his life from a distance. But I am not sad. I enjoy the voyeuristic richness of it so much that later in the day I go out again. After the feast, the activity has changed--people are out walking and painting fences (and singing) and putting up decorations for the next holiday and...
(If you can figure out how to make this slide show full screen on your computer, it will be better! I can't.)