Thursday, November 24, 2016


The Wampanoag Indians in 1621 invited the Plymouth Pilgrims to their harvest feast. This has become known as the first Thanksgiving. However it wasn’t until President Abe Lincoln in 1863 declared it a national holiday that it became official. Now, it wasn’t that people weren’t celebrating Thanksgiving, it was just that the leaders of the colonies and then states held Thanksgiving whenever they pleased. So, like the great unifier he was, Lincoln made it universal for all of America.
            What does all this mean? Simple, we’ve been feasting and celebrating and giving thanks for 365 years now.
            And now I find myself in a bit of a pickle. You see, I could go on writing about the history of Thanksgiving. I could tell you about how President George Washington made the first official proclamation for Thanksgiving. I could tell you that at the first Thanksgiving that it wasn’t even called Thanksgiving. That the menu had lobster on it, seal and even swans for the survivors of the Mayflower. Or, I could tell you about my day and what I am thankful for. Or I could just combine the two in some sort of abomination of writing.
            I think... I think… I think I will just wing it. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen?
            This year Thanksgiving was an intimate affair for me and my family. No traveling. No guests and a small menu. We have our own traditions here in Casa de Novak. Especially when it comes to food. Thanksgiving we have turkey, Christmas is spiral cut honey glazed ham… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
            Weeks ago I had the menu set in my mind. I knew what I would cook, what sides we’d have and what desserts we would tantalize our palettes with. It is almost a set menu every year. Sure the sides may change, but we always have Turkey and mashed potatoes. So last week, when I stopped at the store and picked up a fifteen pound turkey and a bunch of sides and seasonings I wasn’t really thinking I was on my motorcycle.
            When I got the bags back to Bernadette, my motorcycle, I quickly filled my saddle bags with all the small bags. Seasoning, potatoes, fruits, veggies and milk took up all the room in both bags. Leaving me standing in the parking lot holding a fifteen pound frozen, plastic wrapped fowl in my arms. Now, understand this, you cannot operate a motorcycle with just one hand. Not unless you have an automatic clutch. It’s not happening. And, my model of Harley does not have an automatic clutch. So I tromped back into the store, went to the sparse hardware, automotive, miscellaneous aisle and found one small bag of what can only be described as the saddest excuse for bungee cords ever made. I purchased them, went outside and strapped that fifteen pound, frozen ball of poultry to my bike, all the while mumbling and cursing to myself. When it was secure enough, I climbed on, started her up and left the parking lot. But not before witnessing some very odd looks from other customers entering and exiting the store. I didn’t care. I’d secured my feast.
            Over the course of the next few days I made regular trips to the store to pick up other items I’d need, always making sure to take into account the limited space I had to place them into. Things went well.
            That is until a few days ago when I started to suffer from insomnia. Sure I’d fall asleep for a few hours only to wake up at one or two in the morning and then fight to go back to sleep. Which was usually about a half an hour before my alarm went off. The main cause of my insomnia? Pain.
            I’ve spoken before of my physical ailments so I’ll not go into detail here. However; they are getting worse. Last night was no different.
            I woke up at four in the morning. Which is better than one or two. I tried to go back to sleep. I tried clearing my mind of everything and I was almost successful. The black veil of slumber crossed my frontal cortex for just the briefest of moments and then, like a bad April fool’s joke. It left. Leaving me awake, in pain and my mind racing.
            In desperation I rubbed some natural ointments that were made for me by shamans in the Midwest. These ointments contain no preservatives, additives, subtractives, laxatives or any other kind of “Tives” you may or may not want in or on your body. Then I lay there for twenty minutes waiting for relief. It didn’t come. Sure there was some but not as much as I needed to relax. So I went to the bathroom and broke out the big guns of the ointment world. Arthritis cream with capsaicin. Then I washed my hands, went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth and went back to bed.
            I lay there for about five minutes before the ointment set fire to my genitals. You see, that stuff is oil based and it doesn’t wash off. Even as your standing in your bathroom pouring cold water and soap on your crotch and trying desperately to not cry like a four year old who just had all their Halloween candy stolen. Washing didn’t work. The burning intensified. I dried off, hobbled downstairs, grabbed an ice pack out of the freezer and for the next two and a half hours tried to watch television while freezing my junk.
            A great way to start the day. I suggest you try it.
            The rest of the day went well. Bacon was cooked, cinnamon rolls were made and the feast was prepared and the dishes were done. Football was watched along with a dog show and part of a parade and I even got to spend time with my outdoor cat. As well as with all of you.
            As for my list of things I’m thankful for. It’s simple. I’m thankful I live in the age I do. Where I have creams and ointments for my ailments along with pain pills when things get real bad. I’m thankful that I’m not one of only half the surviving pilgrims from the Mayflower. (Yes, over half of them died in the first year) I’m thankful I had the day off to rest and spend leisurely with my family. I’m thankful I’m not overseas fighting a war. I’m thankful for the few close friends I have. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful my talents are appreciated by the people I work with.
            Yet, here’s the funny thing. To me that is, you see, in order to be thankful for things, isn’t the opposite true as well? Aren’t there things we are unthankful for? I know I have a laundry list of those. I’ll not publish them now. No need for a downer when we are all fat and happy from a day of relaxation and overindulgence.
            Oh, one other thing I’m thankful for. Tomorrow, Gilmore Girls drops on Netflix. I love that show and I can’t wait to see what happened to Luke and Loreli and what about Rory? And all those other loveable characters from Star’s Hallow? Guess I’ll be doing some binge watching in the near future.

            Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving.

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