T-Day Minus 3

1959 Thunderbird

1959 Thunderbird

Cooks, dishwashers and servers of the combined American culinary forces: You are about to embark upon this great holiday feast, towards which we have striven these many days. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of turkey-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave families and other cooks-in-arms working in other kitchens across this land, you will bring about the successful consumption of a great many calories and then lead us on to a well-fed feeling of security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. But this is the year 2015. Much has happened since your Thanksgiving Day disaster last year. The tide has turned. The free chefs of the world are marching together by your side, to victory! I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in the kitchen. We will accept nothing less than a tasty meal with all the trimmings. Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God on this great and noble undertaking.

How to Spend [on] Black Friday

Chilly GoPro Ride in the Park

Chilly GoPro Ride in the Park

Dave landed in Saint Louis on Wednesday night. It had been snowing that night, but he made it through fine just the same. Although, he did complain about his car’s traction. Dan wasn’t going to try to fly back from LA, so it was only going to be the three of us for Thanksgiving. Even Joanie had gotten a better offer. Later that night I got a frantic sounding text from Dan. He had been participating in the downtown LA #Ferguson demonstrations, the ones that the LAPD had cracked down on and arrested 150 people. I don’t know how close he was to that and I’m not sure that I really would want to know. Long story short, nothing happened and he made it back to his studio OK. On Thursday, Anne performed yeoman service in the kitchen and prepared a very delicious Thanksgiving meal that we all enjoyed. I did the dishes.

Actually, I’m still working on the roasting pan. I think that using a hammer and chisel is next on my list. I don’t blame Anne for this and in no way mean to impugn her culinary abilities. The problem you see is our stove. It is thirty years old and is the last man standing of the all new set of kitchen appliances that we bought when we purchased this house. It’s a gas stove and its electronic ignition is failing. It still works fine, when the stove is cold, but if it is warmed up it doesn’t work at all. This is fine for the burners, we can always light them by match, but the oven is another story. We use it so infrequently and generally only for single dish meals that this problem could have been around for a while. Anyway, for our safety, if for nothing else, it is time for this stove to go. At least Anne and I know what to get each other for Christmas this year.

I don’t usually shop on Black Friday, but this year I did. I didn’t go to the mall. Anyway, Galleria looks like it is being shut down today by Ferguson protests. I bought new tires for Dave’s car. The back tires looked OK, but the front ones were down to their tire wear strips. I decided to get four new tires. Hang the expense! When I called the auto shop this morning, they had just finished beating back the shoppers that had been camped outside their store all night.

It warmed up today, at least in a relative sense. It got above freezing. We went for a bike ride in the park. Near the end of it, as we were still riding into the wind and before we turned for home, I suggested stopping at the Boathouse again. Anne was in for that too. We partook of the raspberry liqueur flavored hot chocolate again, but instead of the bread pudding, we shared a much more sensibly sized slice of chocolate pudding cheese cake. At least it seemed more sensible at the time.

The Spirit of Saint Louis

The Spirit of Saint Louis

I am thankful for not having to go to work today, and also tomorrow and also this weekend. They’re be no paper airplane building this holiday. I’m thankful for a good job that has supported my family and does not require me to go to work on Black Friday, or even worse, Grey Thursday.

I am thankful for the spate of warm weather today that will allow me to go bicycling, before cooking the rest of the day. It was especially foggy on Wednesday morning. I knew that the airport was closed, because the Running Rabbit wasn’t going, as I passed underneath it on my way into work. The Running Rabbit is that ribbon of chasing lights that leads pilots into land, at night or in not too inclement weather. Dave posted a photo of similar weather in the early AM at Purdue. My suspicions were later confirmed that Chicago’s O’Hare Airport was also shutdown. Our country’s busiest airport was shutdown on its busiest day of the year. I’m thankful that none of my family was flying today.

Dave drove into town last night, completing his whirlwind cross-country sojourn. We trooped over to South Grand for our traditional pre-Thanksgiving Vietnamese dinner. Our atomic family is all together again and all valances are strong. I’m especially thankful for this.

I’m thankful for all our other family members, who we won’t be seeing this holiday. Many we have seen this year, but some we missed. We hope to see them again in the new year. We’re few compared to other families, but mighty. Some though, we won’t see again. I’m thankful that I have known, loved and been loved by them.

Thanksgiving is an American holiday. Yeah, I know Canada has one too. On this holiday, across this land, we attempt to recreate a mythical meal, once shared between our Pilgrim fathers and their Native American neighbors. A recent Slate article implicates the Pilgrims for plaguing these very same neighbors into extinction. Another Slate article contends that Turkey Day is really Dino Day. I am thankful for these holiday readings, it will stimulate table conversation.

Recriminations can abound when diaspora families reunite. There is always the big three, politics, religion and sex, three things better not discussed at the dinner table. Interesting, but inconsequential small talk can be a godsend. I’ll be thankful for turkey sandwiches after the all the hub-bub dies down again.

As you travel into and through this holiday, don’t imagine yourself as some lone aviator, trying to be the first to cross the Atlantic. Lindbergh’s triumph eventually turned to tragedy. Enjoy the parade. You’ll see some of the most significant people in your life, parading before you during this holiday. Be thankful for them and enjoy them!

Holiday Plans

The gathering of the clan has begun, the RegenAxe clan that is. Cue the bagpipes. Dan flies in from the Left Coast this Friday. Dave will arrive sometime next week, followed quickly by special guest, Rey. Dave has just returned to Purdue after a long weekend in Vegas, but what happened in Vegas, I’ll just leave there. Joanie will join us for Thanksgiving that will give us six at the table, a pretty good-sized dinner party around these parts.

The above sparrow has graciously volunteered to be our Thanksgiving bird this year. He is totally 100% organic. What do you mean he looks too small? I could blow him up six times larger if you want. Remember, a bird in the pan is worth two in the bush, or something like that. How about, it’s not the size of the bird in the fight, but the number of bites in the bird? Oh look, there is a cardinal at the feeder. Let’s eat him too.

The next day, Black Friday, we’ll start to unwind this conclave. Dan will depart first, eventually followed by Dave and Rey, at the end of the holiday weekend. In addition to feasting, planned activities include taking in a Blues hockey game, as both Dave and Rey want to see them play. The Missouri History Museum will have an exhibit opening over this holiday weekend. It is called “Mastodons” and was designed by Chicago’s Field Museum.

I’ve already mentioned Black Friday, the official start of the Christmas shopping season. This year, shoppers can start on the first stroke of midnight. No longer need one feign sleep, only to wakeup at three in the morning. This year, just lay off the tryptophan, switch to coffee, stay up and you will be good to go, shop ’till you drop.

This week, a flurry of emails between Anne and her sisters have been burning up the information superhighway. They all have lists, little lists, lists for people who certainly shouldn’t be missed, Christmas lists. As per usual, I am not yet ready to offer gift suggestions, at least for myself, but I do have some for other family members. Has everyone already forgotten about yesterday’s Brain Coat? If so, maybe I should order one for everyone? I hope it’s not too late.