During the Break

Posting plans have been completely overcome by the days-long non-cooperation of my hosting provider. They’re back, but now I find myself with precious little to say, except that it’s been a fabulous trip, and I’m not quite ready to re-enter the SoCal end-of-semester, Christmas-season melee. I return tomorrow, ready or not, to find myself with ten days left in the semester, and two days (or fewer) left in the review that has loomed so large over said semester.

I believe this to have been only the third Thanksgiving that I’ve spent away from my family, in the 36-year history of my spending Thanksgivings. I feel a certain shock in that admission, but on another level, I shouldn’t be surprised; for the majority of those years, I lived in the same town as my mother, and during the crucial grad school too-poor-and-pissed-off-to-travel years, I lived right across the river from the aunt to whose house my mother and sister and I had long made the over the causeway and through the airport migration. Family was not only all there was, it was convenient.

There was one year before this one, however, when I did not accompany Mom and D. on what we had affectionately named the Eating Tour of the Industrial Northeast; instead, I joined R. in the then pretty podunk Louisiana town that he was living in (now transformed into a chi-chi New Orleans bedroom community), where we hiked and talked and wrote, and utterly failed to consider the problem of where we would eat on Thanksgiving Day, until, unfortunately, Thanksgiving Day. It would be one thing to report that we had Thanksgiving dinner at the Waffle House, after forty-five minutes’ tooling around revealed no other open eating establishments; it is wholly another to report that we ate there twice that day.

The trip was still, quality of food and residue of guilt aside, a tremendous success. This time out, we met up in the decidedly non-podunk London, where every eating establishment was happily open, given that, here, it was simply Thursday. So we ate, drank, and were decidedly thankful — not least for not contending with the official insistence upon Heartfelt Gratitude for Things Unquantifiable.

I’ll likely wind up returning to the familial feast next year, and I’m on point of returning to the daily grind (if only ten days-worth) tomorrow, and I’ll be decidedly happy about both returns — but the break has nonetheless been lovely all around.

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