Well here it is, another Big Ugly Thanksgiving Day, and it does seem like an appropriate, if clichéd, time for a recitation of all the shit for which I am thankful.
We’ll start with a conversation that SOBUMD had with the kids this morning, while I was still sleeping (the fact of which I am also thankful for). This conversation started yesterday while she was shopping with the Reigning Queen of Pink, when out of the blue she got The Santa Question.
Now, the RQoP is 8 years old, often going on 6 years old, and we’re not always quite sure how much of the “cute and silly” she affects is an act, and how much is natural – she has the theater in her blood. So, getting The Santa Question in its barest state (“Mommy, is Santa Claus real?”) took SOBUMD aback a little. These are the times as a parent, when you get no warning of danger ahead until the river drops and you’re going over this waterfall Right Now, and your answer in the next 2 seconds has the potential to define a part of your child’s life, when you wish you could hit the big Pause button in the sky and think for a minute.
Luckily, SOBUMD is an expert. “What do you think?”
RQoP: “I think it’s parents.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, SOBUMD agreed with her, and moved the conversation to how we can all be Santa for our friends and family, and for strangers in need. This conversation continued this morning with Number One Son, describing how the RQoP and Number One Son and the Human Tape Recorder could all be Santa Claus to one another, being loving and friendly to each other, along with the giving of gifts.
Number One Son, looking up from his breakfast, told them, “Yes, it’s called inclusive altruism.”
SOBUMD had to look it up, and I had to think about it a minute myself.
As the day progressed and I awoke from the drug induced slumber I’d been in for the previous 11 hours, I entered the kitchen to find coffee, chocolate croissants, bacon, and more meds to deal with the pneumonia I’m getting over.
We moved on to more standard Thanksgiving traditions, watching the Macy’s parade and playing Christmas tunes as soon as Santa came down 34th Street in Manhattan. SOBUMD prepped the turkey with a good rub on the outside and homemade bread and sausage stuffing on the inside. (It’s called stuffing because you stuff it in the bird, damnit – I don’t care what the FDA says.)
We would have been in West By God Virginia celebrating the day with the Very Clever Grandparents, some of their friends, and my sister, but between my highly medicated coughing and itching, the RQoP’s fever, and SOBUMD still gimping on her post-surgery knee, we concluded that discretion would have to be the better part of thanks this year. For the first time I can remember – certainly in more than 30 years – we have Thanksgiving with only us. Relaxing, yet strangely quiet.
And now, with a bottle of Georges Dubeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau given by a good neighbor, dishes being cleaned in a dishwasher given by a good neighbor, a small turkey in a working oven, more medication on board than anyone without HIV should be taking, sweet potatoes baking in the side oven, a pumpkin pie made from scratch baked with a pumpkin grown in my own backyard, children reading and playing quietly, and Christmas music rolling through the house, I submit to you a few of the things for which I am Thankful.
I am thankful for good neighbors, past and present. SOBUMD and I made three toasts with the aforementioned wine: First, to the health of our generous neighbors. Second, to my Uncle George, for whom Georges Dubeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau was the Thanksgiving wine of choice every year – it was just fantastic. And last to our love, always, and for all these things I am thankful.
I am thankful for the family and pharmaceuticals that let me sleep in this morning. Better living, and sometimes just living at all, through chemistry.
I am thankful for recipes that still start with “grow a pumpkin”, “shoot a deer”, or “kill a bird.” Some things shouldn’t come from a can.
I am thankful to be living in a land of plenty, in a time of plenty. We Americans talk about the recession and the economy, and there are too many of us who don’t have enough to get by, but we are better off than much of the rest of the world, and around the world people are better off now, on average, than humans have ever been before. I am thankful for the things I have.
I am thankful to have children who are smarter than I am. The constant state of wonder and amazement in which I spend my days stems in no small part from watching them and wondering what they’ll do and say next. Even if they don’t always practice inclusive altruism.
I am thankful for all my family, those by blood and those by bonds of friendship.
And certainly not least:
I am thankful for you, dear friend, fond relation, and Gentle Reader. Without your readership as an excuse for my ramblings, they’d have locked me up long ago and I’d just be talking to myself.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!