The title is not a typo nor a bad pun.
Yes, it’s the fourth Thursday of November. The emails have gone quieter. My twitter and instagram are full of photos of the baking I see friends and family in the US are busy doing.
The memory reels cue up like an old thumping 8mm film projector, to the traditional meals my Mom would prepare, served on the “big table” with visiting cousins. Imagine… no worry of masks. And any political discussions were ones of differing opinions on issues, not about a tweeting/bleeting president.
It seems rather Norman Rockwell quaint.
The reels spin forward to 1987. In my first year of grad school, I had driven cross country from Baltimore Maryland to Phoenix Arizona. I was living in one of those efficiency apartments in Mesa that you could tell had been converted from a hotel. Realizing that other grad students were not going home, I got an idea to do a Thanksgiving potluck.
It was “shared” by me drawing an invite on a sheet of paper and posting on the Geology department bulletin board,. People RSVPed using these things called a “telephone.” Having come up with the idea, a thought settled in… I had never cooked a turkey before. I had no google to turn to, no YouTube videos, but I had something better. Mom. I called, and she explained how to pick one out, what to do to prep it, how long to cook. More or less the recipe for cooking a turkey (yes I know you have your secret parts) is… sticking it in oven.
I recall the turkey was “not bad” — maybe even good. The memory around it, and being able to do (with her help) what Mom had done for years, was grand.
Living now in Canada, where the same named holiday is celebrated in early October, I realize how growing up in America, it’s seems hard to imagine (though actually it takes little to be aware) that everyone else in the world is not prepping turkey this day. What we do seem to get beyond the borders, is that Friday is a major shopping holiday more places.
That says something.
Now about the skidding. It happened last night.
Cori and I had an afternoon errand where I met her; so we were driving back separately, me in Red Dog, the trusty 1998 Ford F150 now tipping the odometer at 205,000 clicks (the big ones, miles, not kilometers). The highway seemed clear and I was mulling through some things in my head, going right at the speed limit.
Just a few minutes from home, the truck started, as if on it’s own, into the other lane. I was skidding, to the left, wondering if the truck had lost control (forgetting that the roads were icy). I was steering opposite trying to keep it from sliding more. But a thought was… I could easily by going over the edge into the ditch.
Somehow, and maybe I was doing too much braking, the truck just slide hard, in the opposite direction, but on the edge of the highway, as on-coming traffic slowed down, passing me. I had done a 180 right across the highway. A semi was not far behind.
And all of this was right in front of Cori. That had to be terrifying. Right away another pickup truck stopped opposite and peered out, the move of offering assistance. I wave him off. Started the truck, called Cori and let her know I was ok. This time, the 180 turn across the highway was done more slowly, as was the drive home.
We got to our driveway and hugged deeply. I’d not dwelled on this too much (aka shock) but am now more reflective on what happened and what could have happened.
Talk about something to be thankful for. No kidding or skidding.
Thankfulness need not be on a specific calendar square or correlated with turkey. It is it’s own thing. Sometimes we need something external to remind us, and ideally, something maybe more reasonable like the ding of an oven timer. And deep hugs.