Friday, November 09, 2007

Order Your Thanksgiving

I passed Whole Foods this morning on the way back from Mimi's outing, and they had a sign up that said 'Order Your Thanksgiving.' It seemed to be not what it seemed, not simply 'Sign up for your turkey,' but 'Put Everything in Order so you know what you are Thankful for.'
Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday, because I could do it up brown, and orange(pumpkin soup in a pumpkin shell) and it was the single meal for which I received unqualified praise from my family, including Robert when he was little and already a critic("Gourmet, again? Why can't we have hamburgers like every other family!") Whatever there was of the maternal in me reached full court press at that time, and the house was afloat with fabulous smells for days, besides the rigor of making home made pumpkin seeds as croutons for the soup, and the horror of cleaning up afterwards, which I tried not to think about and besides, there was Maria. I loved Thanksgiving, because it combined in me love of country, love of family, and love of beautiful colors, which are never more beautiful than in autumn, even if you live in a place where there really isn't any, but you could always find a few trees on Carmelita that shed their leaves and they changed enough so you could decorate the table.
When Don got sick I asked the doctor if he would still be with us for Thanksgiving, and the doctor, being his friend who had missed it when he might have been able to save him, more in denial than Don, said "which Thanksgiving?" but he left us on the 14th of November, coming up fast I notice out of the corner of my psyche. I made Thanksgiving anyway, with the family joined by a friend who loved him and was a little crazy, too, Susan Swanson, who went out in the backyard in between courses and came back in and said "I just had a talk with Don." In those days I believed everything, so I thought she probably had.
My life since then has been nomadic and erratic, to say the least, but anywhere I was where there was a kitchen and some orphans I could have for a sitdown, I made the glorious meal, usually with colorful plates and even more colorful food. This year I will have my grown son, still critical and contentious but basically sweet in heart, his wife-- I really like her-- Lukas, who is 7 and more argumentative than Robert was but just as bright(all Harry Potters read, the last one without moving his lips) and Silas, 4, with whom I am very much in love.
The hunger for romantic love has finally left me, the reluctant-to-let-go vestige of teenager vanished, replaced with a sense of peace because the last man for whom I thought I yearned is still good for a laugh, which turns out to be more important. But I am very frightened for my country, which I loved with a passion and poetry, both. I am putting an article from today's Times underneath my jade statue of Kwan-Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, hoping she will activate what's in the piece, and they will indict Bernie Kerik this afternoon, and that will impact on Rudy, because I am really scared. I mean scared. I think it was Will Rogers who said the Lord must have loved the ordinary man because he made so many of them. But I don't know Who loved the lunatic fringe, because there seem to be a lot of them, maybe enough to tilt the election the wrong way. I am afraid of Hillary, not because I think she will do wrong, but because I don't really believe in my heart that the country as a whole will believe her. And that Giuiliani got the endorsement of Pat Robertson is chilling. We are in an economic downslide, and that will affect everybody except the ones who have steered the ship of state onto a sandbar.
But, hey, it's Autumn, and there's one tree on Montana that sheds its leaves as they turn all the colors of Vermont, and I have collected and put them in the center of my table, underneath little pumpkins and one majestic Turban squash, with two little Teddy Bear Pilgrims, a man and a woman in appropriate attire for being grateful atop the colorful pile. And there's a cornucopia, which of course life really is, with all kinds of things falling out of it, in this case all manner of fall flowers, which there wasn't anybody on duty yesterday at Whole Foods to determine the price, so the manager made a mistake and let me have it for a song ("Keep your Sunny Side up," I think was the name of the number)
So I am, in spite of the news, really happy as Thanksgiving approaches, knowing there is much to be grateful for. I will clean up my apartment and my act, and put everything I can in order, including my cortex which the paper said today is strengthened by exercise so you don't lose memory. They told us at the Mindfulness seminar I went to at UCLA some weeks back that meditation thickens the cortex, oh at least they think it does, but it's hard to measure. Still, every once in a while, when I remember, I think of my cortex growing thicker, and that, in a way, is a kind of mediation. It beats the skin growing thick.