Thanksgiving, a Birthday, and an Anniversary of Service, All Along with Change

The turkey is now for sandwiches and, if i can figure out how to do it, turkey hash with giblets to be served on biscuits, all in my mother’s style.

It’s Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend. Well, not really: When i escaped from watching  “Elf” with the high fashion decorators, i went to my too-cool-to-sit in-go-outside-retreats or in-my-garage-escape, to the living room where i like to read, contemplate, and occasionally tap away on this infernal machine. But i went to sleep contemplating. So it’s  now Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.

The stockings are hung not exactly by the chimney with care, but close. i mean they are on the credenza next to the tree. Okay there are two on each end of the mantel. That counts doesn’t it?

You must understand i have no input in this. i have learned over the years that when there are two women involved in the decorating for Christmas, i needed to put up the tree, cart in the forty bins of decoration and get the hell out but remain close enough i can hear and then comply as the “go get it” man. For you see, i would hang all of the stockings on the mantel. After all, i am old and consequently, old fashioned.

But one can’t hang the stockings from the mantel when those two women have decorated all over. And the Santa doll must be moved for me to have a fire or for Santa to come down the chimney. i wonder if he will understand. Well, he does have Mrs. Claus, perhaps a daughter. i wonder where he might go when the decorating is going on. Ahh, if only i had a reindeer stable.

So i retreated to the minor decoration of the  living room goofy guy retreat. And i contemplated, at least until i dozed off. i thought about how old men can lock themselves into roles. i try not to lock myself into anything. Oh, i’ve locked myself out of a lot of places — the mini-van running incident on the first tee at Rancho California remains a legend among the Order of the Curmudgeons (that’s the group established at FMG, Friday Morning Golf, an event running since 1991). That’s why we have a secret key hidden well, outside the house. But locking into role is easier. We don’t even know it’s happening. My major objection is it keeps me from thinking on my own. It is hardest for me to refrain when i started reminiscing, thinking about how things used to be, how i wish they were still the way it was, not how it is.

Some things, however, don’t change. For example, the Order of the Curmudgeons really hasn’t changed all that much in over thirty years (we unofficially were curmudgeons before FMG). And we have our leader,  Marty Linville, here after the Black Friday round to prove it. The fez was awarded several years ago during our big Order of the Curmudgeon celebration at Pete and Nancy Toennies Coronado home. It was perfectly clear that the Grand Whiner of the Order of the Curmudgeons would have to be Marty.  Pete and i jointly came up with the idea — as usual Shreq and Donkey will forever argue about who had the original idea — but Pete did all of the legwork. Yeah, we are pretty much the same. We almost have to be the same  and as we have repeated our many Curmudgeon Legends so much to each other, they are pretty well emblazoned on our brains.

But change is all around us. Can’t stop it. It amazes me we can’t seem to accept that and rather than trying to make things better for now and the future, we either attempt to change change by retreating in the past or spend our time crying about all of the sins the other side, whatever that other side is or was, committed in the past.

The decorators and i were celebrating change earlier in the day before the decorating began in earnest, even though it was two days early. Younger daughter Sarah turns thirty-one tomorrow. Thirty-One! She is beautiful and has been invaluable to her parents during this COVID thing. Her big changes are still ahead, and her dad is proud of her. Sarah hasn’t locked herself into role, and even at her age, that is difficult.

She asked to have her birthday lunch at Coasterra on Harbor Island. It’s a wonderful place, outside dining with wonderful views and great food. We had a delightful lunch celebrating the change. We laughed a lot. i have four reasons for my happiness. It seems all four are happy, which makes me happy: Maureen, Sarah, Blythe, and Sam (Jason, you and i are grown men, so we don’t count, and i’m sure, like me, you are happy when Blythe and Sam are happy.

Here are my two of my happy’s this Thanksgiving.

As we were dining, i looked toward the San Diego skyline. I locked myself into role. i began to whine with my wine to the decorators., “It’s changed,” i moan., “i remember when the county admin building and the Hotel El Cortez were the two highest buildings (you can’t see them in the photo: they are dwarfed or hidden by the high rise condos and office buildings). The Gaslamp wasn’t a tourist attraction,” i added, “There were some great restaurants with lots of charm right in the middle of the blight. i remember getting propositioned while at a stoplight back then.” Hmm, i stopped there. Maybe, just maybe, all change isn’t bad. i looked again. The San Diego skyline change ain’t all that bad:

It was somewhere along those thoughts last night when my contemplation led to nodding off. i awoke to the downward jerk of my head as the doze hit. The fire was warm, but it was time for me to go to bed a bit early. After all, old men may not take change well, but boy, oh boy, we can sleep well if we don’t worry about change.

i did. Sleep well, that is.

Today, i feel much better and will feel better yet when i go for my walk. My doc keeps admonishing me not to run. “Walk,” he encourages. Down the hill from us is open space. The city hasn’t deigned to keep the hiking, horse riding path maintained to the top of our hill. i used to walk down and up and down and up from there. Stopped for a while. But with the doc’s encouragement, i took the neighborhood sidewalks to an access. i walked up. The hill in the background is where our home is. If you take a microscope, you might find our flag flying.


Eventually, i will get to the top, survey the Southwest corner, and feel good about change. You see this path leads to the mountains. There are old homes, Kumeyaay lands of the high desert, new developments, then the mountains, and a path to change for the better…if all sides quit drawing lines in the sand, locking and loading, but instead, sit down and talk about what is right and good for all of us.

It can be done.

It’s been a rather grand Thanksgiving, 31st Birthday party, and 31st anniversary of my completing Navy active duty.

i hope yours was wonderful as well.



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