Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Across the River and into the Trees

I must first start out with a confession. A rather shameful confession. The realization that my cultural literacy has let me down. When I came across the juxtaposition of a river and trees/woods, I never realized that Hemingway wrote Across the River and into the Trees. (Note to self: read more Hemingway. And F. Scott Fitzgerald.) This short video shows what I always conjured up when I heard these words. Though there is too much snow and ancient means of transportation and not enough Grandma (where's Grandpa?) and a Norman Rockwell turkey.

I love the idea of children wrapping up warmly in a sled, arriving at Grandma's house where there is already a smell of gingerbread and everyone sitting around the fire telling family stories. Yes, I love the idea, but it doesn't work out that way. This year I got six exhausted people who for some reason had left Virginia at two a.m., but got here safely in time for lunch. I had made cookies, but it did not take them long to devour the whole batch. (Note to self: make more cookies and hide some.)

As usual, my memories of the Thanksgiving weekend are a little confused. What DO I remember? Well, I remember the funny noise the dishwasher made Thanksgiving morning and the fact that it kept running and running but the soap never left the dispenser. Fortunately Kate and Ron were cooking the Thanksgiving dinner and I still had my summer picnic baskets filled with paper plates and plastic silverware (my favorite oxymoron) for the other days when I had 17-25 people a meal.

I remember Gody teaching Kate how to make authentic eggplant parmesan —hope you got it, Kate, it was delicious and we want it at more family meals. And as I look through photos, I remember how unenthusiastic I felt about taking photos. This dish was I side I served with a ham and roast potatoes. I remember we let the kids go ahead in the buffet line we set up and that there were no more potatoes left when we go to the front of the line. (Note to self: remember we have 2 18-year olds at Thanksgiving, a 16 year old, and the other ten were not much younger. With large appetites. Make lots more food ahead of time and freeze it.) Even this little elf will be eating large portions soon.

One of the interesting parts of Thanksgiving. Our son, the French teacher, who will quote Verlaine rather than pick up a hammer, actually fixed the downstairs toilet, the upside down soap holder in the shower and two lights in the upstairs bathroom. That's what having his own shed and a nice new house will do for him! (Note to self: leave more chores for his next visit.)

The day after Thanksgiving was rainy and I debated whether to drag all the kids to our local parade. "Is it the same one as usual?", someone asked. When I said it was, everyone politely declined to go to the parade. Not because it was raining, but because the parade is boring. So while two grandsons and their father went to an old car museum, the rest went to a bookstore.

So Thanksgiving is over. On to Christmas

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