Thanksgiving Snapshots

9:35am Daniel patting my face. “Get up, Mommy!” I grumble when I realize that I’ve overslept, but man, it sure felt good to sleep in. I don’t do that much anymore, even if I’m a stay at home mom.

11:05am Just as WXRT starts playing their annual Thanksgiving song, “Alice’s Restaurant” on the radio, I start pulling out ingredients for something I’ve never done before–making my Grandma’s cornbread stuffing. Seeing that she doesn’t have a recipe written down, I can only guess at vague amounts. But it’s such a bright, sunny day, and the sun is streaming into my kitchen. I chop green pepper, onion and celery, and saute them in a skillet. As the onions turn translucent, I can’t help but feel excited, that I’m venturing down a path that my mom, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, etc, have done Thanksgiving Day Pasts.

12:05pm I don’t think I have enough cornbread, and my sage has turned flavorless. Well, that sucks.

1:30pm Half an hour late already, we pile into the car.

“Wait…do we have anything for Daniel to play with?”

“Um…I don’t think so.”

I head back into the house to get Daniel’s Thomas the Train engine. Well, I may have goofed up on the stuffing, but the house sure smells like Grandma’s cooking.

1:45pm We pass what used to be a used car dealership lot. The cars are gone now, and the tiny house that served as its office has an ambiguous sign and darkened windows that makes one think that it’s now an adult porn and toy shop. It’s hard to imagine, because the house is pretty tiny–where would one keep stuff like that?–but today, I noticed that its everpresent neon sign ‘Open’ is lit up brightly. That causes me to wonder: who would visit such a shop on Thanksgiving Day? Why would the owners have it open? Not that I’m going to find out, but still…

2:15pm The landscape is brown, brown, brown. All the leaves have gone away, leaving a dismal landscape. At least the grass is still green. Daniel giggles in the car seat when I tickle his toes.

2:30pm We reach Jon’s relatives house. Lots of hugs, lots of kisses. I put the overcooked stuffing down back in the oven to warm up, but Jon’s aunt says it looks good. All the teenage girls coo over Daniel, then take him under their wing. I don’t see him much, but since he’s having so much fun with them, I decide, hey, let them have their fun with him.

3:00pm Dinner. The stuffing’s not that bad after all…My hubbie is now telling a new set of relatives about his job. They still find a way to rag on his goatee, though.

5:00pm The women want to take a walk around the neighborhood. I decide to go with to get some fresh air. The woman who made the mashed potatoes keeps apologizing to me profusely–she had cut her fingers slicing the potatoes, and stuck several bandages on them. She didn’t notice one falling in…and I was the one who found it. Lucky me.

5:20pm The sky has darkened considerably outside. There’s a tiny sliver of moon hanging in the west, like a thin fingernail. The women chatter, very happy indeed to get out the hot house and all the debating men. We take a walking path that goes behind the neighborhood’s houses. Every other house seems to be lit up from inside, and I can see various parties taking place–sweatered people sitting at dining room tables, jostling about in a kitchen, waving their arms madly while children sit in front of a video game. There’s only one house where the lights aren’t as bright–one lone person sitting on a couch in front of the TV. I can’t tell if he’s alone or simply decided to bow out of the festivities taking place somewhere else in the house…

7:00pm Several people left for home, so now it’s down to a few families. An uncle leans back and says, “So, is the war justified?” He gets several pillows thrown at him, along with cries of “Oh, not this again!”

8:15pm One of the girls has brought down her pet boa constrictor. I now realize why Daniel’s been going up there all this time. This snake is pretty small by snake standards…only 6 feet from head to tail. Despite my squeamishness at seeing this snake draped around the girl’s shoulder’s, I have to touch it. Its skin is cool and leathery. Later, it slowly winds its way towards me, and I let it cross my hand and creep up my arm and shoulder, where it inspects my hair, tiny replicas of itself, its tongue flicking out thoughtfully. It then moves off my shoulder to crawl along the top of the sofa. I feel the muscles bunching under its skin. In my Willow book, the evil character is in the form of a snake. The Temple worker whom he’ll eventually take over is a Voice for snakes. How can something with no arms and legs inspire such terror in people–and yet, how can it be so disturbingly seductive? I’ll have to capture that in the book somehow…

9:30pm Daniel’s finally yawning. My hubbie’s antagonized his uncles long enough. We load up the car and head home. I switch from the traffic report to hear some music, and the first thing that pops up is Vince Guaraldi’s Instrumental “Christmas Time is Here”. Normally, I’d get upset on hearing Christmas music so soon, but I leave it. After today, I’m in the mood for it, and besides, it’s Charlie Brown. How can you not turn from such happiness?