Wednesday, November 23, 2005

'Tis the season

Now, at long last, I can finally get into the whole "holiday" thing. Yep, it's ONE DAY before Thanksgiving and I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe, the holidays are upon us and it's time to plan and shop and do cards and all that. It's strange for us this year, because this year I'm not cooking for T-day, I'm traveling! I don't have to shop, don't have to start the bird at some ungodly hour, don't have to frantically clean while cooking, don't have to wish the guests would go home already so I could have some peace and quiet and a cocktail or more. All I need to today is the following:

Get the kids and me up early so they can do their homework
Get them and me ready for school and work and out the door sometime in the next hour
Get to work and stay there for a few hours and grab my paycheck
Get to the bank to deposit the money
Get to the post office for stamps to pay the bills with the money I just put in the bank
Get back home to straighten up so the dogsitters don't think that we're complete and total SLOBS
Get the last load of laundry dry and our stuff packed up and the dogs petted.
Get the kids from school and head on down the road.

Someplace in there I need to also get gas.

I can do this, but part of me wishes I didn't say I would. Part of me wishes that I had simply hunkered down here and made a holiday with just the family that's here. We could watch the parades and crack walnuts and bake a small turkey or have pizza or do whatever we wanted to do, for 4 glorious days. However, I have indeed made arrangements and therefore there is family to see and friends to visit and fellowship to be had, which in the end makes all the "getting to" mentioned above worth the effort and craziness.


Did someone ask for a story boys and girls? Ah, I thought so. In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, I hereby offer a snippet of life in Accent 2.....

I think I was about 7 or 8 this particular Thanksgiving. As we usually did, we piled in the car on Thanksgiving morning and drove back to accent 1-land, where most of our relatives lived. We three kids sat in the back seat, the unfortunate shortest one with their feet on "the hump" trying to be comfortable without actually touching the sibling on either side of them. On a good day the trip would take about 4 hours, which felt very long indeed if you were the "humpee."

On this particular day, the 4-hour drive turned into 3.5 hours of clear sailing and and additional several hours of nearly motionless aggravation on the expressway, listening to the fury crackle off my Dad and waiting to see whose bladder would explode first. (My bet was always on Mom.) Because there wasn't much else to do I memorized the interior of several apartments to which I was being afforded a nice LONG look, took a nap for about an hour, and woke up to find we still hadn't moved very far at all. Dad was really starting to stew, muttering under his breath, and Mom was trying to calm him by saying things meant to be soothing bu were, in reality, having very little effect. (My Dad was normally an extraordinarily nice and affable man, but not in traffic; it pissed him off right smartish to have to sit and wait for anything.)

On and on the suffering went, our Rambler inching along the bleak concrete strip of highway that snaked between sad gray looming buildings, seeping ever so slowly past small shabby city houses, barely moving forward toward Thanksgiving. We were adrift in the sea of humans who were all trying to be someplace else, and getting really steamed by the effort.

Please remember that this occurred in the days before cell phones, before instant and easy access to people who might be waiting and worrying about you. We couldn't pull off the road to make a call because we couldn't GET to an exit; there was no way for our relatives to know where we were. There was no way for them to know if we were OK or if we were bleeding on the side of the highway somewhere, a sad story to be told on the evening news.

At loooong last, well after the sun went down, we were upon our exit and finally able to break free of the glutinous cloying mass of traffic and enjoy the heady sensation of actual movement. Our joy was boundless! A mere 5 hours after we were supposed to arrive, we finally pulled into the driveway of my Aunt's house. We unfolded our stiff legs and unkinked our backs, rubbed the last of the sleep and aggravation from our faces and trekked up the back steps, where, supposedly, our anxiously awaiting family were nervously pacing about, terrified that something awful had happened to us. Our knock on the door was greeted by the sound of pounding footsteps, the sweet sight of the door opening brought with it my Aunt's voice saying

"Well, you're FINALLY here. What the hell TOOK you so long?"

My mother SPUN on her heels, pushed us all down the steps, and loudly said "let's go home."

The only things that truly kept us from leaving was our desire to see our cousins, and the thought that getting back into that car was too awful to dwell on.


Happy Thanksgiving y'all, no matter how you choose to observe it.

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