Wednesday, November 26, 2008


As we prepare for the feast, as we bake pies, make cookies, make more pies, make yams, which is really only pie filling too, I look at the weather report and there are three special areas highlighted on the map of the northwest that bear mentioning as we consider travel tomorrow: around Puget Sound it will be windy, in the Columbia Gorge there will be wild weather of some magnitude, and in the Southlands, the region of my recent distant past, the land of my upbringing, our destination, there is a stagnant air advisory.

Yes. I'd imagine there is.

So, we're doing Drive By Thanksgiving to the land of stagnation. Home of the primal shrug. On the road at six, home by nine. Husband, wife, two kids and the dog in our shiny little mazda. And pie. Over the river and down I-5 to grandfather's house we go. Only not. One of the nicest things about holidays with my outlaws, the only nice thing in fact, has been the fact that they live off the grid in the midst of a beautiful forest along a deep green creek, with kerosene to light the way and wood fires to warm crisp mornings. But not this year. This year, for the sake of convenience, we are sentenced to dine at a step-daughter's house on the outskirts of Medford. In town. Arrgghh. In the Rogue Valley, one stays out of Medford unless absolutely necessary. One really should.

It'll be Thanksgiving either way. Here or there. Just another day.

I'm happy to have some time away from work. Frankie died. I think I can just say it outright. She's dead, she won't care. Her son won't read this. She was named after Frank James and was every bit as tough. She coulda kicked my ass if she wasn't 90, blind and in a wheelchair. She fired us every day. We'd hide around the corner, come back five minutes later and say we were somebody else. It usually worked. It sounds mean, I know, but it isn't. You do what you've gotta do.

This week was the long dreaded State Licensing Inspection. I passed. It is a relief to have it behind me and to get on with the day to day business of letting people die in peace. I am always so surprised when families, having just moved mom onto the unit, return a couple of weeks later to ask if she's busy doing things. Well, she is. She's busy dying. Its not easy, sitting around waiting for the reaper. I know it sounds awful, but this one new lady (she's so new she's still "the new lady." I haven't even made up a fake name for her yet.) Her husband just died. Just died. He really didn't expect to. I knew him. He was a great guy. He completely expected to take care of her through the end. But he got a get out of jail free card and now I've got her, and her family wonders if she's being social.

No. She's not being social. She's being devastated. She wants to go to heaven now to hang out with Herb for another 63 years. Not to Bingo. Sorry to disappoint.

I don't get mad at them. Not out loud. But these guys... oh man. They really don't see what's going on.

But its going on anyway.


asha said...

Well happy whatever anyway. The wheel turns. What the hell. I am enjoying not celebrating The Day. It's no big deal here. Refreshing. But at breakfast this mornning I couldn't help reminiscing about the absolutely fantastic dinners my dear ol' mom used to cook.

someone said...

thanks. giving.