25 November 2005
Giving Thanks (R)
I had a wonderful time.
I woke up around eight in the morning, after getting to bed around three. I ate a quick breakfast and got ready, fussing over what to wear but, deciding on a simple warm sweater and jeans since I was traveling quite a distance. I made it to the Atlantic City rail terminal and hopped on the train to the wonderful 30th Street Station. I have always loved this train station, very grand and open, a beautiful entranceway for such a great city. I bided my time with a little shopping, had a bit fo coffee and snapped some pictures, fearing the police would grab me an confiscate my camera and detain me as a terrorist casing the station for a future attack. It's a shame that we have to live under armed guard and constant suspicion but, I suppose it's the price we pay for "freedom".
My Mother and step-Father and Betty, his Mother finally came to get me, late, as usual. That's a trait I share with her. She and I will be late for our funerals. Guaranteed. I wasn't concerned, I knew she would be. I simply occupied myself watching everyone hustle to and from the trains and imagining their lives. It's a game I play to pass the time, I make up stories about people I see in public places, sometimes long involved tales of their lives.
The weather was rather nice. We got under way driving down to Maryland to see my Aunt Janet, who I have written about at length in the Cafe before. She moved to a rather rural area of the state, which, for a city boy like myself, is a bit of a shock. I am talking barns. Silos. Fields. Windmills. Cows. It was another planet as far as I am concerned. Hell, you could barely get mobile phone service. But, it is also where part of my family lives and I was very glad to be there among my kith and kin .
It was great to see everyone, my cousin Dawn and her three children, Tara, Eric and Amy. My sister, Danielle and her boyfriend, Mark. My Aunt Janet and Uncle Jerry. My Mother and Barry and Betty. I enjoyed meeting some new people, my cousin's boyfriend and another friend of hers. It was a great time. My cousin Eric is studying to become a sommelier and he chose the wines for before and during dinner, teaching us about the regions and the process of winemaking. It was very nice. Tara told me of her medical schooling. I caught up with Dawn, she and I have always had a special bond. I miss her so. I was asked if there was anyone special in my life, and what I have been doing these past few years that I couldn't make it to Thanksgiving dinner. It was your typical family gathering, I am sure it was repeated everywhere in the country. It was wonderful.
At one point, I did have a moment of reflection outside, as the winds were bringing in the Alberta clipper. I looked up to the heavens. The sky was so dark. Blacker than black. And the stars and planets were so amazing to see. Big and bright. Shining like precious stones with an inner fire. I wanted to reach up and gather them together, and give them to the precious members of my family. It was simply beautiful.
Dinner was done and the cleanup began. Then coffee and dessert and after dinner drinks. We sat some more, talking and laughing, and laughing and talking. Sitting close and touching each other on the hand, or shoulder, or reaching out for an impromptu hug. It's a small family but loving. I feel safe and loved among them.
Sadly, it came time for goodbyes. We all had to go and get back to doing what we need to do. Our lives have an unfortunate habit of tearing us away from these special moments. I treasure them like those stars I saw in the evening sky.
My sister and Mark gave me a ride home. I slept, as I am want to do when I get in a car. I call it "car quiet". I usually pass out in less than a minute. I woke up in Northfield, not far from Atlantic City. I stopped over my Father's for a moment and then braced myself for the walk home. It may only be three blocks but, with the clipper in full arctic blast, it felt like miles. Now, here I sit, thinking over the day's events, full and content. Both with food and the good feeling of being with my family.
Here's hoping Thanksgiving Day found you in the arms of loved ones.
I have so much to be thankful for. I am truly blessed.