Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day after Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving has been a lazy day.

That's good because Thanksgiving Day was anything but.

No, I'm not talking about the usual downers or stresses that befall many on this holiday. Ours were more self-inflicted.

It all began when I spoke on the day before Thanksgiving with my mother who informed us that she was too ill to travel and spend turkey day with us. We were saddened that she couldn't make it, but we understood the reason. Turns out, it was for the best.

The night before the big eatin' day, I came down with a nasty cold. I was in bed by 7 in the evening, and when I woke up the next morning, my nose was plugged like a clogged toilet. I felt about the same as clogged commode, too. That same night, Michelle came down with an odd rash that covered her upper body. She was red pretty much all over, a splotchy crimson, and it it appeared as if she had been sunburned. Nathaniel, remarkably, was the healthiest of all of us.

Since my mother didn't come, we went in on the Thanksgiving meal with our neighbors, the St. Angelos. It was a potluck affair, and we (I mean, Michelle) supplied triple-cheese mashed sweet and white potatoes and a green bean casserole. Others turned up with a turkey, a broccoli casserole, a chourizo stuffing, a turnip and carrot salad, peas, corn, dinner rolls, yams and other foods. Quite a spread, huh?

I felt better by the time the dining started at about 2 p.m. And while my stomach was prepared for the gastrointestinal onslaught, unfortunately, my taste buds were not. I could probably taste about 50 percent of the food's full flavor. Considering how much I love food, this was a major drag.

As we ate, Michelle's rash had spread to her lower torso and to her legs. I could see her stealing scratches when she suspected no one was looking.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel had ensconced himself as the life of the party. See Nathaniel wave his arms! See Nathaniel walk along the table! See Nathaniel smile and gesture at the guests! See Nathaniel play with the remote control, the cell phone, the nutcracker... You get the idea. He was the center of attention and loving every moment of it. Even crusty uncles, middle-aged men with packs of cigarettes in their shirt pockets, were charmed by his shenanigans. He felt great, even as we didn't, and he was a joy for the four or so hours we were there.

After dessert of chocolate cream pie, banana cream pie, chocolate-covered strawberries, two versions of pumpkin pie, cheesecake, apple pie, blueberry pie, pecan pie, baklava and vanilla ice cream (amazing, huh?), it was time to travel the 60 feet home.

That's the kind of trip I don't mind taking.

Too often, we forget that Thanksgiving, is about giving thanks, exactly as the holiday implies. I am thankful for the simple things – my family, my health, my quality of life, our families and our friends. I will add that I am thankful that I've never had to worry about my next meal. A recent news story notes that 49 million Americans – that's one in six U.S. citizens – are not so fortunate. I was stunned by the magnitude of hunger in this country. Considering how much we have compared to most of the world's seven billion people, it seems shameful that so many families here search in vain for food.

Let's remember how lucky we are and what we can do to help those less fortunate.

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