I think it’s good that we give our Federally mandated Thanks next week. It’s good because I have had harvest decorations up around my house for a month or so, including corn strapped to my front porch, some weeds tied into a clump on my front and my back doors, and some pumpkins scattered here and there. Some of those pumpkins came from my own garden, where it’s always a surprise when something that was purposefully planted actually grows and sends forth its fleshy fruit. Harvest time in that garden is less, “let’s go harvest some pumpkins”, and more, “hey, I accidentally stepped on this pumpkin that was hidden under these weeds- let’s bring it inside and set it on the table“.
Other pumpkins came from a wheelbarrow. This wasn’t any wheelbarrow, mind you, it was a special wheelbarrow that wasn’t special at all until we loaded hundreds of pumpkins, squashes, and gourds into and on top of it. With the help of a physics minded friend, we made that wheelbarrow into a legend, and fit more pumpkins on it than anyone had ever fit before, and indeed more than anyone will ever fit again. This wasn’t just some sloppy loading of pumpkins into a wheelbarrow, this was science. And science, as we all know, only exists for our pumpkiny exploitation.
But Thanksgiving. Sometime a few weeks ago, there were pumpkins and hung up weeds and corn lashed to posts, but there were also snowmen figurines, some Joy To The World tins, and a statue of Santa fly-fishing. Christmas had forced its way into Thanksgiving, or more accurately, before Thanksgiving. Harvest time has been confused with gift giving, collecting corn from fields had been disguised as coupon collecting. Black Friday was no longer the culmination of so much November shopping restraint, because Black Wednesday and Black Tuesday and Black Monday, they’ve all existed for the better part of this month. Thanksgiving has been usurped.
It’s a weather thing, to be sure, with snow and single digit temperatures and red cups at Starbucks. There are many forces at work here, which is why I stand alone in my defense of Thanksgiving, which has always, up until right now, been my favorite Holiday. I like the look of Thanksgiving, the sepia of the scenery and the still of the woods and waters. I like the cold air that isn’t so terribly cold. I like the ground that crunches under foot, but the sounds of leaf and stale grass crunching, not ice and snow. I like so many things about Thanksgiving, but this year, things are all out of place and I’m weary.
As I think of next week, and of Thanksgiving, I have one bit of advice. If you own a vacation home here, any one of any size, but one with a fireplace, then I think you should spend Thanksgiving in that home. Thanksgiving in the suburbs is fine, but Thanksgiving at the lake is so much better. This shouldn’t really be advice that I even need to give. This advice should be obvious. Family lives in city or suburbs. Family flees on Wednesday, to the lake. Family dines and laughs and throws footballs on Thursday. Family drives on Friday to cut down their Christmas tree, if that’s their bag. Black Friday sales can wait, there are trees to be chopped.
There’s little else I can say on this topic. Thanksgiving at the lake. That’s what you need to do. I’m saying this now so that you have time to plan. How’s the plan go? Like this: Email everyone who will be in attendance for Thanksgiving dinner. Tell them it’s at the lake. Give your address. Tell them to bring desserts and side dishes, depending on which side of the aisle they sat on at your wedding.