Delayed thanks are offered for an eventful Thanksgiving
The car is unpacked. The trailer has been returned. More than 1,800 miles and a week later, we’re back in our own bed. It’ll take a little more time for my waistline to return to some approximation of normal.
It was a great Thanksgiving week with much to be thankful for.
One of the reasons for belated thanks is being able to go nine days without a political conversation or thinking much about politics, fiscal cliffs, liberals and conservatives and past and future elections. Also, enjoying the holiday week with my daughter and son-in-law in San Diego while tracking my son’s concurrent move back to Colorado for the next step in his career as a television journalist.
It’s good to be reminded of what’s really important, to be grounded again in family and friends and forced to stretch a bit in different surroundings. To realize that whatever our reaction to the recent national and local elections, we’ve somehow survived just in my lifetime the likes of Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter (heck, even Craig Meis and Jim Spehar) and life goes on.
My mother, with a lifetime of experienced shepherding large holiday gatherings, would have been proud of her granddaughter’s Thanksgiving festivities. Two different kinds of turkey, traditional and also more adventurous stuffings, a busy kitchen, 20 well-fed guests and enough leftovers to feed them all again.
The food and drink was great but not the most important part of the day. That summation was left up to the other father/father-in-law present, Dan Howard.
“Seeing your kids and their friends all together and starting their lives kind of completes the circle, doesn’t it?” he said as we were cleaning up. It did, in more ways than one.
While we were motoring toward Southern California, hauling some supplies for my talented son-in-law, a rental truck tightly packed with all of Tony’s belongings and towing his car was headed west from South Bend, Ind. to Colorado Springs. By the time we returned home, he was settled into his new digs and had already spent his first day at his new job.
The more things change, the more they’re the same.
The events of the past week brought back many memories — some of now-older couples in the start-up phases of their lives together decades ago, when the struggles were tempered by shared food and drink in the company of friends and family at gatherings much like the one on Seaside Street in Ocean Beach last week. There were also memories of a young couple towing their own vehicle behind a rental truck full of belongings over a holiday week as they moved from Phoenix to begin the next step of their lives back home in Colorado.
Admittedly, those times look a little rosier with the benefit of seeing them in the rear-view mirror. They can be a bit more difficult living them in real time.
One of the Thanksgiving guests was a young, single father, doing an amazing job with his two-year-old while working with my son-in-law. His smile is a bit wider when he looks at his daughter these days, thanks to a customer who said “go see my dentist” and paid for several thousand dollars worth of dental work.
Call it karma or whatever, but be thankful that sort of kindness still exists. And that “the circle” includes offspring who make certain their friends have a place to go to celebrate holidays, who perpetuate the family ethic that “we’re all in this together.”
Another young couple at the festivities also migrated from Grand Junction, living for awhile with Jess and John earlier in the year while finding jobs and a place of their own. “Your dad might know my parents,” the young woman said while asking to add them to the guest list. Teri Cavanagh and Bonnie split dish duty after Thanksgiving dinner.
Sometimes you have to drive 900 miles to visit with someone from back home.
All in all, last week was a timely reminder that the little things can really be the big things in life. And, conversely, that the “important stuff” we spend time worrying and pontificating about really pales in comparison.
“Consciously or unconsciously, our life is our finest work of art, and the tracks we leave are a painting for all to see.” — Dewitt Jones