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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful to Have a Home and Loved Ones

The wind was whipping county trees and waters here in Leelanau on Tuesday, November 23, and there were snow flurries in the air, but the photograph above is one I took sometime the previous week, when southern Leelanau Township had snow on the ground and the northern parts had none.

Now comes the holiday, and a hush falls over the blogosphere! Who has time to poke around on blogs when there is so much cooking and cleaning and talking and laughing to be done? For some, there will be hunting or football games on television. Maybe old photograph albums will come out of drawers to be perused and exclaimed over. I can easily imagine that occurring all across the country.

I got an album out the other evening, looking for a picture of Grandpa Gilbert with his train engine. My sister has a great one, framed, but all I could find was this blurry image, tucked into the box with the album but not “good enough” to merit a place on a page.

There are other pictures of all my grandparents, however, and even some of great-grandparents. This album represents my birth family, from greats to my own son. “Your poor grandpa,” that old tease used to say to me, “had to ride a pony to school!” The dog sitting on the pony’s back probably didn’t get to go to school, but isn’t it a wonderful image? I wonder what that dog’s name was. Too late to ask now. My grandparents are gone, as is my father, but Thanksgiving seems a good time to remember them.

I love this picture of Daddy and me by the side of a train. Were we both boarding, or was he going away or seeing his wife and first-born daughter off? Was this snapshot taken in my birthplace, Aberdeen, South Dakota?

And here, a few years later, is the rest of the nuclear family, with my mother looking glamorous, Deborah and me looking solemn and Bettie—well, looking like a baby. Sorry, Boo, but it’s true!

David and I will have a quiet holiday at home with Sarah this year. Various pieces of our families are assembling in various places, no one big central gathering (though we will all be in each other’s hearts, and doubtless there will be phone calls, too). As I look forward to the cozy day at home, it seems to stretch out in anticipation as a long, leisurely expanse. Experience tells a different story: We will sleep in and then exclaim how late it is by the time we’ve finished cookie-baking project will severely cut into reading time...dinner will be ten times longer in preparation than in consuming...Sarah will tease for a long walk, and David will tempt me with movies. Well, they are my pack, and I am not about to shut myself up in my library, away from the family, like Mr. Bennett. Family first, books second on holidays, though I’m hoping to combine the two for part of the day, reading aloud from Mark Twain.

This is my favorite American holiday. It isn’t about presents, and it doesn’t leave anyone out. So however you are spending the day and whatever you are having for dinner, do please have a lovely and peaceful Thanksgiving.


Gerry said...

What a great post! Where else would I find a dog on a pony AND wild turkeys AND Mr. Bennett?

Happy Thanksgiving, PJ!

P. J. Grath said...

Mr. Bennett was a real find. He was in an edition of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE illustrated by Edgard Cirlin.

Holiday hugs!

Dawn said...

Love the family photos. It reminds me of some of my own. Must have grown up in similar time periods! We won't all be together either, physically..but still together forever in our hearts.

Enjoy your day, eat some cookies, read some books, nap a little, romp with the pup. Sounds perfect.

P. J. Grath said...

I tell people, "I grew up on trains." My grandfather drove one (first steam, then diesel), two of his brothers were conductors, and my father ran survey crews, first on the Pennsylvania R.R., then on the smaller E.J.&E. We took trains everywhere, and I wouldn't trade the time I grew up in for any other time. You have a lovely holiday, too, Dawn!

mic_comte said...

I also wonder what the dog's name was.

P. J. Grath said...

Mic's link is somewhat commercial, but the contents are interesting, so I published the "comment."

Deborah said...

Wasn't that Bootsy Pamela? I think I remember Dad and Uncle Jim talking about Bootsy. Funny that we had Bootsy cat later!

P. J. Grath said...

Deborah, Grandpa's dog was named Bootsy? How great that you would remember that!

Kathy said...

Good to look at your family photos. Hope you enjoyed your quiet Thanksgiving holiday, Pamela. We had a quiet one, as well. There certainly always is a holiday hush on the blogosphere, isn't there?

P. J. Grath said...

Couldn’t help thinking about your first-year experience to the blogosphere hush: “Stupid, stupid holidays!” You’ve adjusted to it now, I’m sure. It's another form of quiet, and that can be restful once in a while.