Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Thankful

I have always believed in the existence of two worlds.

First, there was the one for which the blame could be placed at humanity’s feet. It is messy, contentious, sometimes graceless, oftentimes not. Its gears wheeze like a quarrelsome factory.

The other world is the natural one – the verdant, growing and once the only one – that began millennia before man made his debut, his awkward challenge. This is the world that witnessed battalions of formless creatures crawling out of the sea, gasping before their gills disappeared forever.

Now, I find much in our combative world that disappoints; the things that bear the scar of mankind’s twisted humor. This year has been bloated with its indignities.

But to despair, to complain is foolish: for the other, older, world waits outside. All it asks of you is one sense – sight, touch, scent, taste, hearing – in order to share its manifold gifts. It asks that you look at the stars, touch the earth, smell its growing life, taste the air, listen to the beguiling animals.

Can one world outweigh the other? I think so. Nature has her clever ways. Her wit and creativity, her ever-busy mind, will always be an encouragement and an inspiration.

So what can you be thankful for on November 24? Or on any day? Has mankind let you down? Then look to the lady spinning her wonders outside, and she will comfort you.

Then go inside and eat a hearty dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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The Clean Sweep

“I can give you only a scattering of some of the crumbs of one man’s year, and the penny music whistles. Any memory, of the long, revolving year, will do, to begin with.” – Dylan Thomas

Not long ago I was reminded of one of my favorite Dylan Thomas pieces, “The Crumbs of One Man’s Year”. It is a soft, elegiac piece – its reflections scented lightly with rain and gentle regrets. The words are contemplative and full of understanding.

Whenever I read it, I seem to follow the writer on a journey through woods that are eternally harvest-colored, listening to the sibilant rustling of a river, watching the thoughts sailing across it like lost ships. I walk through cold air that is colored in muted pearl and infused with memories.

I thought of this essay when I was engaged on a task that was far less sentimental. I was, in fact, clearing the last remnants of my holiday cooking from the kitchen table. Pecan pieces, sprinkles, sweepings of flour and sugar: all the crumbs of my holiday were brushed away. But I did not lament – save for the poor job of cleaning I had done mere days ago – nor was I sad.

Yet the homely act of wrapping my hand in a faded kitchen towel and passing it over the tired, wooden table made me think. As the crumbs trickled towards me I recalled the year’s Thanksgiving, steeped in expectation and golden, buttery smells. As the scraps vanished into the folds of the cloth I was briefly reminded of Christmas and the flock of cookies that descend on my home like frosted and sweetened clouds. I saw the ropes of silver beads that held aloft the cards and caught once more the coy smell of pine which greeted me like a long-awaited friend for so many weeks.

They would be washed away, vanishing in a vague spiral down the drain. But fleetingly, the crumbs had caused me to remember, and to be thoughtful. And to take comfort that in a year’s time I would be performing the same chore again, and reminiscing – deeply, wistfully – about another year: its promises and its spent possibilities.

Look Carefully…

…what do you see?

Hopefully, it will be:

8 petals

3 stems

3 leaves.

This lily is part of a bunch of flowers that my parents gave me last November, for Thanksgiving.  They have been hanging and drying – like a ripe salmon – in my living room since the day after that iconic dinner.

Many people say that there is more to be read in an aged face than in a smooth one.  I don't particularly agree – a person's library of stories is more internal, than external.  One's skin isn't always that expressive.

But I find much beauty in tired, wrinkled flowers.  And so I draw them.

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I Dare You

Happiness is a challenge; a gauntlet thrown down that very few people care to pick up.  It is difficult, after all, to look at your life, your family, your home, your job, your surroundings, and, after considerable thought and analysis, turn away again with a smile of contentment on your face.

But it can be done for one day.

I know people – here in the three dimensional marketplace as well as in my lively, invisible neighborhood – who have gone through/are going through rough times; yet invariably they have the wisdom and strength to be thankful.  Thankful for friends to talk to; for a home to shelter them; for small favors and large mercies; for pets that silently watch and wait – for no matter what you are a God to them; for the memories that through the years have built a personality as complex as a cat's cradle; for the breath that passes through their lips.

So, keeping all of this in mind, I dare my citizenry in the United States to luxuriate in their gratitude this Thanksgiving.  We are surrounded by details that are magnificent.  To notice only one or two each day would be enough to suffuse our hearts with delight. 

It might not be easy.  It might, in fact, be rather a strain.  Which is a good reason why Thanksgiving comes only once a year.  No one wants the entire United States of America to suffer an anuerism.

There are problems.  There are grievances.  There are worries.  There is anger.  There is loss.  The Cafe Royal is not so elite that it doesn't recognize these things.  But these obstacles are the layers of grit and grime that shadow and destory a great work of art, possibly the greatest:  the human capacity to be happy.

Dorothy Sayers wrote that perhaps the only sin passion could commit was to be joyless.  So I hope that we can spend Thursday in one grand effort of conservation, rejuvenation and celebration.  And – this goes out to my international neighbors as well – to remember that the world is indeed a joyful place.

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Vox Hunt: Give Thanks

Show us what you're thankful for.

 I am thankful for good times, with friends and family…

 …for fruit juggling, and pink Kool-Aid martinis.

If you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, well, on November 22 do as we do:  love your family, love your friends, and eat yourselves into a blind, stupid, stupor.

To my Vox friends – you know that if I could I'd invite you (and all pets) to the palatial Aubrey residence.  I have a feeling that we would have the most famous of times.

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A Thing Of Beauty…

…is on your hips forever.

If we may begin at the beginning:

And then continue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three-cheese, sausage and meatball lasagna:  weighing in at an easy 20 pounds.  My pride and joy.  It will be cooked during that frenzied hour when the turkey has vacated the oven, making room for the other dishes impatiently waiting in line.  It took me four hours to prepare and assemble but it already is quite, quite worth it.

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A Penguin To Wear and A Belleh That Swings

First, let me say that one of the peeps in my 'hood – woofnanny by name – came to my house for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was too marvelous and generous of her.  She appeared at my door, laden with gifts – one of which was a cap in the shape of a penguin.  The lower you pull the cap, the higher the penguin stands.  With pedal-wings outstretched.  Anyway, I'm wearing it now.  With the brim down to my eyebrows.  Try and dignify your way out of THAT, Aubrey.

But it keeps my ears warm - and it is a rather chilly L.A. (i.e. 50 degrees) evening.  That is, after my fine city conjured up a warm afternoon…leaving me meteorologically confused and seasonally repressed.

Now, on to the belleh.  In my neighborhood, sadly, there are many lost pet signs posted.  I always stop to read each one, memorizing the qualities listed and then keeping a sharp eye out for the missing friend.  Tonight I read a notice for a 'lost cat:  gray tabby –  neutered male – 10 years old – 10-13 lbs. – very vocal, loose belly skin swings back and forth'.

A demanding tabby with a swinging belleh – lost!  The owners must be FRANTIC!  If there is anyone out there living admidst the Miracle Mile District…find this kitteh!! 

Remember – there are no snorgles to be had in A Town Without Pity:

"When you wonder what it's like to be free
And curious by the world you see
Why then should I not just go
There's no way that I would know
What a town without pity can do

Streets are scary with their speeding cars
Maybe I've gone and wandered too far
I've turned a dangerous page
I'm trapped in a concrete cage
What a town without pity can do

This presents problems, many problems
Hope my owners try and do their part
Why don't they find me, try to find me
Before this granite planet tears me apart

Read the signs and please make it your task
To find me, 'coz my luck just can't last
How can I keep hope alive
How can I try to survive
Inside humanity's urban zoo
What a town without pity can do

How can I keep hope alive
How can I try to survive
Inside humanity's urban zoo
What a town without pity can do

No, it isn't for a kitty
What a town without pity can do"

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Food Without Shame

Thanksgiving is no longer historical, or political – if it ever really was.  It's gone back to basics (basics?  basic food groups? bring 'em on!), to its roots (roots?  root vegetables – yams, potatoes, onions – nummers!)…enjoying the company of the people you love best, and taking part in one of humankind's favorite pasttimes:  eating.  It's all about the joy, peeps, and eating what I, er, we bloody well want.

Now I cook Thanksgiving dinner every year, and frankly, I make it my duty to use as much cheese as I possibly can.  Want to know how much I used this year?  Believe me, you don't.  Let's just say that I know some Guernsey cows who are going to be working nights.  And like some restaurants, I don't do substitutions.  I won't use mashed cauliflower for stuffing or serve a Tropical Fruit Salad for dessert (for Chrissakes), instead of whatever frosted goodness I had planned. 

But I understand dieting.  I've been watching my weight since I was 13.  Still I truly believe that you can adapt to what is served you – you can choose what you eat as well as the amount that you eat - and on Thanksgiving I choose to eat everything, and in terrifyingly large servings…all without guilt.  Because it's Thanksgiving and this is one more cog in the day's wheel of happiness.

But I have one tradition which is not food-related.  Every Thanksgiving morning I write a list of the things that I'm thankful for.  Just to keep one focused, don't you know.  And every year, that list begins with 'my parents' and ends with the fact that I'm not dead yet – getting better, in fact…feeling fine…I think I'll go for a walk…I feel happy…

I think one year I was also thankful that I was no longer 'pining for the fjords'.

So be happy and thankful tomorrow, brethren.  Spend it with those you love and eat what you like.

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