Friday, November 29, 2013

Deconstructing Thanksgiving

                 It’s the day after Thanksgiving, the leftovers are put away and the food comas are slowly wearing off and another day has dawned in our frost covered world.
            I abstained from using my computer yesterday and for the most part, my phone. Instead, I concentrated on relaxing. You see, my family and I had no real plans for the day of thanks we celebrate once a year. No special trips to local family members or friends, no travel plans out of state to see relatives and no visitors coming over. For the most part, we stayed home and enjoyed a quiet day filled with good, homemade food, parades, football and relaxation.
            In the past, everywhere we went or whomever we had over filled the home with laughter, conversation, brief glimpses of football scores and snitched food fresh from the oven along with semi-mandatory naps after the feast was finished. At the end of the gathering, the chaos that filled the day left one exhausted yet strangely satisfied.
            This year, no chaos, no human shields in front of the television, no brief overheard conversations and no interruptions of my thoughts during cooking or festival tasks. The minutes passed evenly into hours. From the time the sun came up to the time it went to bed the zen-like air of the house was a profound change from previous years.
            To say I stayed home and spent the day with my family would be a lie. I did venture out twice into the empty streets of my adopted city. Once to a drug store and once to a friend’s house who had invited me over. The trip to the store was easy and without incident. The trip to my friend’s house was not so brief and quite chaotic. The place was filled with his friends, family and a football team of kids running around, screaming, consuming food and beverages like a platoon of starving soldiers just back from a two week field exercise. I sat in a corner and quietly smoked a cigar while the parade of kids, adults and pets passed by me with full plates of food, cups and stomachs.
            I stayed for the length of my cigar, and several conversations. When I left the kids had been taken home, the food cleaned up, trash taken out and dishes were being done. My pal looked as if he had been through a wringer with the amount of work he went through to host a four family feast. As I fired up my motorcycle I thought “I’m glad for my quiet, non-hectic day.”
            When I arrived home, I finished carving my families turkey, making sure the potatoes were sealed properly, the biscuits put in an air tight bag and the green beans were sealed tight. Yes, that was my families Thanksgiving dinner, turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and biscuits, for desert I made a Dutch apple pie. A simple meal but with enough leftovers for a few days, by the time I went to bed, my house was no worse for the wear, my nerves weren’t frazzled and I wasn’t mentally exhausted from trying to sort out a cornucopia of information I had absorbed through endless hours of listening to people talk about things I had interest in or concern with.
            In the end, it was a very pleasant day spent with the people in my life I am closest to and with as little stress as possible. I’m not saying this is how I will want to spend all of my holidays or even that I will be able to. But I do know that it was a pleasant change from my past holidays and I can now highly recommend that you try it sometime. Just turn off the phone, the computer and spend the day with your spouse, kids and enjoy the day as it slowly unfolds and shows you the mysterious ways of your loved ones as they re-bond with the transient population of your home.
            Have a great week and I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

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