Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

We’ll go back and write about a calendar entry like we used to. Why not?

Too much of nothing, the poet says, can make a man ill at ease.

But not this time of year.

November 30, 1968. (Yeah, I know, this could be the 30th day of any month. But, trust me. It's Nov. 30, 1968.)

November 30, 1968.

Yeah, I know, the picture above could be the 30th day of any month on my grandpa’s calendars. Anyway, trust me. It’s the calendar space representing the last day of November, 1968.

And, most importantly, it’s unmarked.

See, the Thanksgiving holiday is usually divided into two halves.

One part is the whirlwind we all celebrate, and that we all reminisce about after it’s over. This part is cumulatively composed of those overloaded periods we spend packing, driving, flying, reuniting, catching up, cooking and eating.

The other part is the complete opposite.

It’s the time we spend taking post-prandial naps with our mouths open … the time we spend (e)motionless in front of a screen staring at football (unless we are Detroit Lions fans, and even they’re numb by now) … the time when, meeting and greeting finished, family members scatter to different rooms and pursue their own entertainment.

We do not celebrate those amber-stuck hours of stillness quite so much as we celebrate the turkey and the togetherness. But they are an integral part of Thanksgiving as well, a cool autumnal counterweight to the hours of warmth and glee.

There are not that many times between the third week of November and the end of the year when we get to completely switch off. Indeed, the whole idea of “switching off” feels foreign to the season when we hang lights and decorate trees. Life is supposed to shine, all the time.

It’s not really that way, of course. We need that downtime. And the Thanksgiving break is an ideal place to find it.

Other calendar entries show that my grandpa’s Thanksgiving in 1968 was just as busy as everyone else’s. My parents, married less than a year-and-a-half, came back to Stamford to visit. So did my Aunt Elaine, still in college at the time.

My grandparents even made punch, a most uncharacteristic touch. I have no idea what was in it, though I expect it was not boozy (or not heavily so).

Nov. 27-28, 1968.

Nov. 27-28, 1968.

I’m sure Thursday, Nov. 28, was filled with turkey, stuffing, freshly baked dinner rolls, pie and all the other traditional fixings.

But by Saturday, Nov. 30, there was … just nothing. Nothing particular to do, no tasks to accomplish, no appointments to keep, no church service to attend.

Just time to throw off the yoke and put up the feet.

Sleep late, maybe. Dawdle an extra twenty minutes over the paper, even though there’s no news in it. Have a smoke. Step out into the barren yard. Get kissed by the wind for a few minutes. Go back in again. Put on a sweater. Take a nap.

This kind of time is not wasted. Now that we have smartphones that allow work and the world to dog us wherever we go, it might be more important than ever.

I subscribe thoroughly to its worth, and I’m already looking forward to drinking a bunch of wine and hoisting a test pattern for at least a couple of hours over Thanksgiving break.

Join me, won’t you?

(Not literally. You’ll have to find another room.)


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Thanksgiving is probably the quintessential holiday I associate with 1107 Hope Street — very traditional, very family-oriented, a little bit on the stodgy/unhip side, but certainly heartfelt.

I can still imagine the smell of a turkey roasting there, as well as the smell of baking bread rolls, one of my grandma’s go-to side dishes for fancy meals.

In fact, when I smell a turkey roasting (it doesn’t happen often), it usually makes me think of my grandparents’ house, more so than any other place where I have ever been in the company of a roasting turkey.

Perhaps it is odd, then, that Thanksgiving doesn’t seem to have inspired my grandpa to any great flights of fancy on 15 years of calendars.

No annual drawing of a turkey bewitched to a dark gold, or a jar of cranberry sauce, or an Indian and Pilgrim breaking bread together, or anything like that.

Still, Thanksgiving mentions of one form or another cropped up on various calendars over the years. We’ll take a look at a couple this week.

November 27, 1975. The “J’s” were my other grandparents who lived in Stamford. Sorry for the poor picture quality.

Thanksgiving 1974 has already been covered in a previous blog entry here. Dinner at the J’s on Thanksgiving; another dinner on Hope Street the next night; and my grandpa had laryngitis.

The Thanksgiving 1973 entry has a minor distinction in the world of this blog: The header image of Hope Street (“Heavy Frost,” “Frost,” etc.) is taken from my grandpa’s calendar entries of Nov. 20-22, 1973. Here’s the image in full.

November 20-22, 1973. Looks like I spent my first Thanksgiving on the road. I’ll be at home for this one, like the Detroit Lions.

From there we jump to Thanksgiving 1968. Not sure what motivated my grandparents to make punch, as boozy indulgence was not common in their house. Maybe it was for a church event.

November 27-28, 1968.

And that, believe it or not, is all I have.

I’m sure my grandparents’ Thanksgiving plans were referenced on the calendar each year. But I didn’t see fit to take pictures of them when I looked at the calendars, so they must not have been that interesting or revelatory.

Whatever your plans for the day and week are, I hope you enjoy them, and that they bring you some degree of warmth and comfort.

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