Saturday, November 27, 2021

Cornucopia of Characters

The majority of the week was filled with road miles and visiting for Thanksgiving. Once again I am using an article written for the November 26th edition of the Hillsboro Banner, a weekly newspaper from Hillsboro, ND. The paper has won multiple awards for writing, photography, page layout, etc. over many years. The photographs were not a part of the article.

Maternal Grandparents
The television volume was loud enough to easily hear it throughout the house. The stuffing had plump, juicy raisins in it, as well as ground up giblets. Plus, the stuffing was moistened by the liquids seeping from the bird. At the conclusion was something called “Mincemeat Pie.” No, thank you!

Sometimes my uncle attended. If so, it was short lived as he had little tolerance for his father. There was not enough room to sit around one table. This too, was probably for the best. It was a disjointed gathering. Yet I looked forward to the annual Thanksgiving gathering at the home of my maternal grandparents. It became even better when they plumbed in a toilet!

The characters always made the memories. My uncle was in the burgeoning electronics/computer field. I believe he worked for Sperry/Univac. The skills learned over his years in the Navy transferred into real life. His descriptions of what was on the horizon was fascinating almost to the point of fiction. My grandfather was eager to express his bawdy renditions of battlefields and brothels in France during the end of World War One. But it was my grandmother’s gentle, sincere interest in the lives of her grandchildren that I cherished most. She was eager to hug, hold, and hum a song. She had a way of remaining calm in the swirling, human chaos raging in her house.

The Thanksgiving holiday continues to evolve. What was once a mere marketing 
has for some retailers returned to a day of locked doors. Pandemic concerns
continue to impact the overlay of human gatherings during the week. Cooking at home, delivery meals, or going to a restaurant all remain options. A year ago my wife and I were in quarantine due to her struggle with Covid-19. A family delivered “traditional” foods and placed them in our unlocked vehicle. Yup, social distancing at its best. Their text message alerted me of the dropoff. Jellied cranberry sauce in a can? No, thank you! 

As I ponder all of this, I am grateful for life. I am grateful for the presence of God’s grace and love in the disjointed realities of human relationships. I am grateful for the embrace of the Creator who takes sincere interest in each of our lives. God’s calming presence in the swirling complexities of daily life? Yes, thank you!

The trappings and traditions of Thanksgiving have changed over the years. Yet as you can see in one of the pictures cranberries are still part of the meal. Just not those nasty ones from a can! I am grateful, not just thankful for the opportunities, but more importantly for the characters who have been a part of my life for over 6 decades!
Some of the sides

Lincoln Park Zoo

Chicago + Lake Michigan

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