In the early morning of Thanksgiving roughly thirty years ago, we were ensconced in our new home with a 19-year old daughter and another that had just turned two. A Santa Ana wind, often and also appropriately called “devil winds” had set in the night before, just like the conditions today. Winds weren’t as heavy as predicted. But it was/is warm for a Thanksgiving, even in the Southwest corner, maybe even reaching the 80’s.
My shipmate, roommate, fellow funster, and a legend, JD Waits and his wife Mary Lou were coming for Thanksgiving dinner. Smoked turkey (that post from about that time will appear here again after this one).
Yesterday, i went to the golf driving range at Bonita in the afternoon. This is primarily because my current golf game stinks and i am once again futilely trying to get better. On the south side of the range, about ten or fifteen yards or so forward of the range is a tall but very dead eucalyptus tree. It’s been that way for years and was a favorite perch for two red-tailed hawks (and occasionally one of their offspring). The hawks are gone now. Don’t know where. Don’t know exactly when they left. Don’t know why. But i can surmise.
Yesterday, a falcon , a bird of prey, sat atop the dead, whitish gray trunk, stolid, looking out over his realm as if he owned it. He does. They are beautiful birds. A falcon would be my bird of choice to own and train. Almost religious.
He stood there unmoving. i would glance at him after every miserable shot. He was the lord and master of his world. Must be nice. Probably not as perfect as i idolize him. But a good omen i thought, for a good Thanksgiving.
And the big day that wasn’t really that big a day came. It was only Maureen, her sister Patsy, and me. George Winston’s “December” and the new age “Winter Solstice” playing in the background. Not quite us riding our one horse sleigh over the rivers and through the woods to Grandma’s house, but close enough. There was only one thing missing, but not missed that much.
You see, last year, my magic almost-an-egg grill died from rust. We went cheap, cutting corners. The smoker was long gone cause the knock-off allowed for smoking a turkey. The new grill doesn’t. So no smoking the turkey, no working the day before, marinating the turkey preparing the grill, soaking the hickory chips; no dark thirty rise to start the slow charcoal burn, putting the soaked chips on the charcoal, putting the turkey in the smoker, watching tenderly to ensure the process was working.
But i carved. Maureen had made her own version of non-smoked turkey. It was good, traditional. Quiet. Often needed, this quiet thing.
Other loved ones were far away.
Sarah was with her friends in Las Vegas, sharing her pear pies like her Aunt Patsy taught her to make. She is superb baker.
Blythe, Jason, and Sam were in Paris, Texas, the site of some of my most enjoyed Thanksgivings with Kathie’s parents. My family there was there with a more somber mission. They were placing Kathie’s ashes beside her mother’s, Nanny Betty, as Kathie wished. i longed be there, to celebrate my former wife and her love for her daughter and grandson. i drank my glass of Thanksgiving wine from the Sasaki crystal, my former wife and i bought in Sasebo, Japan during our wedding preparations.
i drank to those who aren’t spending their Thanksgiving with their family. i had my share of those and know how sad that can be in spite of wonderful holidays in far away places.
Now, Maureen is taking Patsy home, stopping by our nephew Mike’s home with a service of our Thanksgiving meal.
The temperatures have dropped. The fire is in the hearth. There is no television, no music. Just me and the quiet of the close to another day.
i find i am at peace, thankful for all of you being in my life.
i hope you have had a joyous Thanksgiving and will have peace and joy through the New Year.