Thursday, November 27, 2008


So here it is Thanksgiving Morn. I got home an hour ago -- at 6:30 in the morning! -- from tending to the livestock. Ebby's still nowhere to be found, but since she's a cat, I have faith in her survival. Back on the homestead, Mittens and Pook engaged in some hissing, which at least means that Pook came out of the bedroom. She ate a crispy leaf from last week's lily which the cleaning lady must have missed. I trust it was nutritious and not poisonous.

But Thanksgiving ... The trouble with gratitude, for me, is that I have to think about to whom or what I'm grateful, and then I get into a whole big icky thing about my Christian upbringing. I have to wonder if there is a god. If I make the mistake of going to a 12-step meeting, I'll have to hear All I have to know about God is that there is one and I'm not Him. Or, worse: Gratitude's an action word. No. It's a noun. Shut up.

Okay. So I am grateful that I won't be a meeting today having to listen to cliches I can't agree with. And I am grateful that my turkey's coming from a private home, not a 12-step group, although I am grateful that such a thing exists. I've eaten plenty of turkey in that setting and, for years and years, it was just fine.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, on its Heavenly album -- a gospel album they're sharing with artists as diverse as Dolly Parton and Lou Rawls -- has a song that's in Zulu, but with one of the Shambalala men smiling and saying, "Ooh! Thank You for my mind! Thank You for my soul!" I'd go along with that. There are parts of myself that simply delight me. I love that there are smells that'll stop me in my tracks, sniffing around, trying to find the source. (Since this is Thanksgiving, I'm not going to talk about the other smells that also stop me cold, like those evil Glade air "fresheners" and many perfumes; plastic, vinyl, carpet, grocery stores when you first walk in, one particular flavor of Certs that's nasty ...)

I love it that I'll see something up ahead and toy with it in my mind until I finally am able to see what it really is and then I laugh because it's sure not what I thought it was. There's a newspaper box near my laundromat that, at night, looks like a person every time I drive by.

I'm so glad that I'm able to read with huge enjoyment. I'm glad I like to dance.

I know I should talk about family, but there they are up there and here I am down here. That was a choice I made that I'm usually fine with. But next week is an open house for a niece who's down in New York from her Fairbanks home. Do I have to say "Fairbanks, Alaska"? Possibly. Fairbanks sounds like a southern city, doesn't it? I'm sorry I can't just jump in the car and be there in an hour. Well, I left my girlhood home at eighteen and never really went back. I was simply never close with my family. A lot of that was a function of drugs and alcohol and now it's too late, I think. It's never too late to be maudlin, though!

There I was, just maudlin' down the street, when up come this dog I never seen before, all crackle-eyed and bent, but smilin' just the same.

Well, and that's something else I'm grateful for: The desire to play with language!

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