Lying around all day
with some strange new deep blue
weekend funk, I'm not really asleep
when my sister calls
to say she's just hung up
from talking with Aunt Bertha
who is 89 and ill but managing
to take care of Uncle Frank
who is completely bed ridden.
Aunt Bert says
it's snowing there in Arkansas,
on Catfish Lane, and she hasn't been
able to walk out to their mailbox.
She's been suffering
from a bad case of the mulleygrubs.
The cure for the mulleygrubs,
she tells my sister,
is to get up and bake a cake.
If that doesn't do it, put on a red dress.
–Ginger Andrews (from Hurricane Sisters)
So this Friday before Thanksgiving, think about Aunt Bert and how she'll celebrate Thanksgiving! And how about YOU?
1. What is your cure for the "mulleygrubs"?
A phone call to one of a short list of special people–you know who you are!
Pure Luck and I will go to his great-aunt's house on Orr's Island. His people have lived in that area for many generations. We'll stop at the little cemetery where his mother is buried. He grew up with not much but a hard-working mom and a supportive extended family and an older brother with dissimilar propensities and a Border Collie mix named Angel who kept both boys in the yard…and this view. Not many poor kids get that anymore.
I remember feeling nervous about going to the family Thanksgiving with him for the first time, wondering if the people I met would feel loyalty to the first wife or judge me for–oh, I don't know what. What I found was a warm embrace, and an invitation to say the blessing.
3. What foods will be served? Which are traditional for your family?
Very much the usual! Turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, squash, cranberry jelly and pie, pie, pie!! My own menu has a few eccentricities that took Pure Luck by surprise, but those are for another year.
4. How do you feel about Thanksgiving as a holiday?
I love it. It's really my favorite, because it's about community and not about gifts. Last year I preached at a community service, and I would do that again anytime.
Over the years since my first marriage ended, I've spent a number of Thanksgivings without my children, and those are not as favorite, but we'll do something special on another night of the weekend. This is the first year my oldest will not be home for Thanksgiving, and that feels very, very different.
5. In this season of Thanksgiving, what are you grateful for?
I'm grateful that Pure Luck will be home, since that wasn't definite until about 48 hours ago. I'm grateful that even though #1 Son will be away, he'll be with his friends and housemates; I love it that he has a community that combines childhood friends and college friends. I'm grateful for a warm house and a good dog and children in good health.
Mostly, I'm grateful for love.