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Holiday Fun

Frosted Squash Plants

Hard frost and cooler temperatures make way for end of year holidays. Stress diminishes as plans for outdoor work become moot.

Diversity in the United States means holidays differ among social groups with each family developing a way of participating in a national culture.

Specific things have been on the agenda in our home. We discuss when to set up the Christmas holiday decorations, make and receive phone calls, cook a special meal, and pretty much stay within the boundary of our lot lines. It has been a quiet day for the last several years.

Some activities are particularly fun.

I mentioned the meal in yesterday’s post. What made it special was discussion about what to have combined with its simplicity. We made enough food for leftovers from recipes developed at home. The concession to consumer culture was an inexpensive bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider. It was sweet and fizzy.

We don’t receive many seed catalogues in the mail yet I started online orders at Seed Savers Exchange and Johnny’s Selected Seeds. The activity informs visualization of next year’s garden. There is a lot of thinking and planning to be done prior to entering payment information and hitting the order button on the web sites. There are discounts from both companies for ordering online this early.

I read a couple chapters of Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving. Books to read pile up on the filing cabinet near my writing desk. I finish most of the books I read each year between December and February. Reading is part of the holiday quiet time and sustains me through winter.

Napping is a lost art. Balance between falling asleep on the couch from exhaustion and intentionally resting is hard to achieve. After the day’s activities I slept straight through the night. I didn’t take a nap this Thanksgiving, but should have.

As a schooler we had at least a four-day Thanksgiving holiday. In the work force, I worked on Thanksgiving Day countless times, even the single time Mother made it out to Indiana for the holiday. That day I coordinated holiday meals for some of more than 600 drivers based at our trucking terminal and missed the main meal service at home.

Indiana was a tough place to live in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Reagan era was noted for downsizing or eliminating large industrial job sites like U.S. Steel. I can’t recall the number of conversations about what used to be in the steel business. There were many. Even lake-effect snow from Lake Michigan couldn’t deaden the angst people felt. Electing Bill Clinton president didn’t change what the radio stations described as the “steel mill culture.” There wasn’t much for which to give thanks in that economic and political environment.

Memories fade with time and Thanksgiving presents opportunities to re-tell the stories of our lives together. Such storytelling has been wide-ranging and keeps the past alive. A past to inform our future, or so we hope even if the teller doesn’t get details right.

If we work a little, Thanksgiving can be a time to have fun. That may be enough to sustain us.