'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,

Thanksgivings I Have Known

My favorite Thanksgivings were in the years after my old girlfriend and I stopped spending major holidays together (fairly early in the Break Up Years) (To you out there in ljland with the recent clean breaks: be grateful! be very grateful!) and before my brother got married (doubling the size of the family, as his wife came with two adult kids already). I used to love the way the little nuclear family would come together, with at least one straggler and/or honored guest, and have a quiet, leisurely meal with conversation and a few glasses of wine. Nothing against my brother's new family in general, but their bold conversational ways---the frantic pace, with eager interruptions, and the volume---along with the greater number of people present (usually at least one of the kids had a sig. oth. there, too) made for a less relaxed, casual-yet-fancy meal.

Some of the guests we'd have would include, say, a friend of mine who had nowhere to go that year, or didn't want to go as far as family; a graduate student in the math. dept., particularly Sean who went on to Tulane or Frank Sharkey (whom I called Feargal Sharkey, after the warbley Brit. pop singer), who each lived in her upstairs for a while; or, for a handful of years when she was between sig. oth.s, my friend and my father's old office mate, Polly, who'd come out as a lesbian sometime after my father died. (She'd bring tomato aspic, but we only laughed about the name when she wasn't around.)

Usually I'd wait to drive down from Baltimore until Thanksgiving Day itself. I'd often be working the day before, or even teaching a class that Wednesday evening (5:30--6:50 or, worse, 7:00--8:20). Besides, the traffic was much slower. So I'd get up at my leisure, making sure I knew what time I really needed to be there, and toodle down the highways past the closed fast food establishments and across the Bay Bridge, all the while hoping I wasn't going to make good enough time that I'd miss the annual playing of "Alice's Restaurant" on WHFS, the alternative station, where on Thanksgiving I seem to remember both Weasel AND Damian would often be in, shooting the shit. (WRNR in Annapolis is the heir to that station's freeform ways---and many of its personnel.) Inevitably, the signal would be breaking up toward the end of the song's 20+ minutes.

One year I blew out a tire on the Baltimore beltway. I'd started hoofing it back to the previous exit ramp when some guy who'd pulled over at the Jeep honked, beckoning me back. When I got back there, he re-parked his truck so's to move traffic away from where I'd pulled off, and then he changed the tire for me. Wouldn't let me lift a finger. I thanked him, and he said, "Don't thank me; thank Jesus."

So I thanked Jesus and headed to Mom's, knowing I'd be making a later entrance than expected. When I got there I propped the blown-out tire on one hip and walked in to the waiting crowd, thus displaying the reason for my tardiness, and making what I thought was a rather grand entrance.

pijeanf, will you play "Alice's Restaurant" tomorrow night? Or is that just too much of the show?
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