Tonight, i watched Vanderbilt lose a close game to Kansas in the Maui Invitational championship game.
i was disappointed but looking forward to the Commodores having a big year.
Vanderbilt basketball holds a special place for me in sports. I was a cub sports reporter for the Nashville Banner when the team won the SEC and should have made the final four except for a very bad call in the closing minutes of their Mid-East regional finals loss to Michigan. Having been a Vandy student for two years, i knew most of the players as good friends, and they asked me to hang around for several events. Admittedly, i am a irrational fan of the team, then and now. I think it’s the only team sport where i truly am an irrational fan. After all, i was a sports writer, and objectivity is a passion of mine.
Now, it is late.
Maureen went to bed to read and is now asleep. I have locked the garage and turned off the outside lights. The full moon was slithering its whiteness through the growing clouds as i locked the garage.
The smoker is set to go. The turkey is marinating. The hickory chips are soaking. The lump charcoal is at the ready.
And for a moment, reality has hit home.
i decided instead of immediately going to bed, i would have one of my discussions with Mr. George Dickel, a long time friend of mine. i poured a jigger into a small glass and sat down at this infernal computer trying to think of something to do that would take my mind off that reality.
Tomorrow will be good. Patsy, Maureen’s sister; and Bill and Laura Boase, Patsy’s son and daughter-in-law (and our nephew and niece-in-law (?)) will join us for the occasion. They are fun to be around.
But the reality is my family, except for Maureen, will not be with me. i should be fine with that. After all, my first Thanksgiving away from my family was in 1967. I was at Navy OCS in Newport, Rhode Island. There have been many more of what i call the family holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, where i have not been with my family, or they have not been with me. i should be inured to the absence. After all, i was in the Navy.
My daughters, grandson, and son-in-law will be giving thanks and eating turkey in Austin. It was rare for me to spend Thanksgiving with my parents in Lebanon after the 1967 departure to OCS. But i could have been with them up until Thanksgiving 2013. My father has missed the last two Thanksgivings here on earth. My mother was not with us last year.
So with the lone office light and the computer screen glaring in the dark of night, George and i talked about who i am where i am. We decided i’m fine. i’ve had my moment of drear. George told me to forget it and move on.
And tomorrow, i will give thanks for who i am, where i am, what i have, what my Blythe and Sarah have, and what Blythe’s husband and my grandson Sam have; for how many family and friends i have; and for being so damn fortunate to be spending Thanksgiving with my wife. We’ve only missed one together (our first one in 1983 when i was deployed on USS Yosemite for Thanksgiving and Christmas).
And folks, that makes things perfectly all right.