i woke early.

It’s my job. i smoke the turkey (the tongue-in-cheek recipe was in an earlier post this week).

You have to get up early to smoke a turkey for a 3:00 p.m. dinner. To smoke it right, that is.

It was a bit tougher this year. It started raining last night. It’s on and off today. That increases the work involved with smoking a turkey, especially if you are not used to it, and i certainly am not used to it. i  don’t think i’ve ever experienced a Thanksgiving in the Southwest corner when it was rainy. It’s usually dry, and for some reason, there have been a lot of Santa Ana’s on Thanksgiving: wind flow from the desert making the day even warmer for the season.

Not this year. i donned my rain gear, struggled with getting the coals started, made sure stuff i used was protected from rainfall, and will be monitoring more frequently than normal from now until closing in on mid-afternoon.

i love Thanksgiving. It’s about giving thanks, not about getting stuff, not about praising others, not about going out and having fun. It’s not using it as a political platform. It’s about home, family, and, of course, giving thanks. It is also about what things should be, should have been. People sharing with people.

So it’s not too hard to get up when i can see the stars. But there were no stars today, not just overcast but drizzles. First light was muted with the cloud cover, but still stirs me as it has for years  especially on the morning bridge watches.

It’s worth it.

There will be moments of sadness for me. i will regret my grandson Sam, Blythe, and Jason aren’t with us. But i will be comforted knowing they will be having a lovely thanksgiving with a delicious turkey and trimmings from Sam’s grandmother. i will feel an empty spot for Joe and Martha but again be okay because i know they will have their families around them.

There will be no sadness when i remember all of those Tennessee Thanksgivings: Castle Heights Avenue, Wildwood Avenue, Waggoner (yes, i still spell it that way as the west end street sign was spelled “Waggoner,” and the east end was spelled “Wagoner” now adopted for the whole street; but i still prefer what was apparently a misspelling) Street, Lebanon; White Oak and Greenwich Avenue, Red Bank (Chattanooga), and (was it Kingston Avenue, Nancy Schwarze?), Rockwood. Family, big classic dinners, children running everywhere, the kindest adults anywhere in the world who loved to laugh, autumn leaves covering the ground, and after dinners belly-full naps, fires in the fireplace (Chattanooga only). Good times for which to be thankful.

And today, thanks for sister-in-law, at least one daughter here with us. Smoked turkey.

And thankful for all of those folks who have suffered injury and disease but survived.

And thankful for all of those who loved and lived and shared their living with me but are now gone on to another thanksgiving.

And thankful for the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe in Plymouth who showed us how to live peacefully together and helping each other. According to Wikipedia, ninety Wampanoag’s and fifty-three Pilgrims, the remaining folks who came over on the Mayflower celebrated the harvest for three days. With the lead of Squanto, a member of the Patuxet tribe and former English slave who lived with the Wampanoag’s and served as the interpreter; Wampanoag Chief Massasoit, and Plymouth Governor William Bradford for making it happen and providing the fowl and deer for the feast. And let’s not forget Eleanor Billington, Elizabeth Hopkins, Mary Brewster, and Susanna White who cooked the feasts, not a small feat by any measure. They showed us how to co-exist, which most of us have ignored since then.

The smoker needs to be tended. The sun is peeking out of the clouds sporadically. And it is a good day. It is not like my brother’s day today. He and Carla posted photos of Vermont snow. i noted my idea of a perfect Thanksgiving comes from a song:

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s (sic: apparently the original was this; i always and still prefer “Grandmother) house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Joe is living it for me.

And then from that Wikipedia item, there was the painting of  Jennie Augusta Brownscombe. It took my breath away while i was waiting for the coals to get hot.

Yes, today is for thankfulness:

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