Thanksgiving Preparations -- 11/21/01

A crisp clear New England late autumn day... overnight low in the upper twenties... into the forties, maybe even hit fifty... bright sunshine and blue skies with scarcely a trace of cloud...

As we did last year, we are expecting a houseful of people here for a pre-dinner gathering. Nancy's mother always has Thanksgiving dinner at her house (the exception three years ago when one of Nancy's sisters gathered us all at her house in Connecticut -- I don't think she's recovered yet *grin*) but there are a lot of people at one of these gatherings. Nancy is one of ten children... and the usual connections with significant others have occurred and children have been produced... Nancy's baby brother (a Marine Corps officer in his early thirties) has plans to marry in 2002 (and he and his bride-to-be will be staying with us this week)... and one of Nancy's sister is now a grandmother (twice!)... so even though not all of her brothers and sisters are here every Thanksgiving (for example, the brother who lives in Chicago with his wife and four children had already made a visit this year) but even so there could easily be thirty people at Thanksgiving dinner. It makes things much less hectic to have everyone come over here for a few hours to socialize, have a drink and a few snacks, giving my mother-in-law and one of my sisters-in-law an empty house and peace and quiet as they prepare the Thanksgiving feast.

I've got most of what I need to be able to supply munchies for the group... just need to dash out to the supermarket to pick up a few things (various color peppers, sugar snap peas, broccoli) to complete assortment of veggies I will want to set out with dips. (I already have celery and lots of baby carrots plus potato chips and corn chips, etc.)... and maybe I'll pick up a six pack of Rolling Rock (for those who prefer that kind of beer... we always have Bass Ale and Guinness)... I stocked up on a variety of soft drinks and juices. I think the weather is going to be decent so we should be able to get the little ones over to the playground in a near-by park so they can run around and have fun.

I usually run in a five mile race on Thanksgiving morning (the Newport Pie Run) -- my daughter and I ran it back in 1995, our first Rhode Island Thanksgiving (and we were only semi-residents: Sean and I were staying with my mother-in-law because I had to start my job here while Nancy and Jennifer were back in upstate New York so Nancy could attempt to sell our old house and Jennifer could finish the junior high cross-country season) and I've run that race almost every year since then (missing only the year we went to Connecticut for Thanksgiving) but I think I will pass on it this year. The Saturday before I flew to Pittsburgh I was running along our neighborhood bike path , thinking ahead to that race when it suddenly struck me that I needed to send in my entry for the race because many races have a cut-off date where only entries received before that date get the souvenir t-shirt... last year I hadn't registered in advance so I didn't get a shirt... so I cut my run short, jumped into my car, and dashed Camire's Running Soles, our local purveyor of athletic shoes, to pick up an entry form... but when I read the fine print on the form I saw that the cut-off deadline had been November 5th... So that means getting up early (i.e., my usual time) on Thanksgiving morning, not eating breakfast, driving 21 miles, paying bridge toll, paying $15 entry fee, another bridge toll and 21 miles back home and not even get a shirt? Yeah, okay, so I have too many race souvenir shirts now, dresser drawer crammed full and twice that many piled up in my closet... but I like Newport Pie Run shirts, nice heavy weight long sleeved shirts... So I think I'll pass on the race this year and instead get up, have a cup of coffee, warm up and stretch, and then to for a run along the bike path... no time lost in commuting and no charge for the run... and I'll save a lot of time. Of course, given the minimal amount of running I've been doing the past few months, I don't know if I can actually run five miles without the influence of hundreds of other people doing the same thing...

Sean has been complaining about an ingrown toenail -- and then about two ingrown toenails -- he'd complain but then brush aside suggestions about seeing a doctor with teenage male machismo -- but finally he agreed that he should see my podiatrist. I picked him up after school yesterday and took him to the doctor's office... The big toes on both feet are the ones with the problem... the doctor shot novacaine into both toes and performed the appropriate procedure... No, I didn't watch her... She had done the same thing with one of my toes a couple of years ago and I didn't watch her then either. (Let's just say that if I had ever followed a medical career path, I would never have chosen any specialty that involved anything remotely like surgery.) Both big toes are wrapped in gauze with an outer wrapping of that new kind of gauze-tape that only sticks to itself -- the tape is bright orange in color and his feet look quite silly -- Given that today is the day before a four-day holiday weekend and not likely to be a day filled with major academic activities, I told him he could stay home from school if he wanted. He had been considering the embarassment of attempting to hobble from class to class so he was quite pleased with my offer. I had thought the podiatrist would say something about my bunion problem and the operation she says I should have, but she didn't mention it... however, the pain is getting worse -- yeah, this is something I've been putting off for almost three years now -- I really do not want to have surgery on my foot because I understand that means a six week or longer recovery period -- but the problem isn't going away, it's just getting worse...

Well, time to empty the dryer, move the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, and then put a new load of laundry into the washer... and then get off to the supermarket, etc. and figure out something for dinner tonight, etc. My goodness, the lazy way I spend my vacation days *grin*

I suppose Brits and Australians may find Thanksgiving Day peculiarly American (although our Canadian cousins also have a Thanksgiving Day, but they've already celebrated theirs) much as Americans are a bit puzzled by Guy Fawkes Day and Boxing Day...

This year may be different from most recent years. This year I think many people will be spending a bit more time than in some past years actually contemplating that for which they ought to be properly thankful. We've had a big shock, a shock that seems to have made many people in this country aware of how lucky we are to be living here... Perhaps this year there will be more concentration on being thankful for our blessings rather than greedily seeking new possessions.

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