Sunday, November 30, 2003

On Your Mark...

My second busiest term ever is about to commence, and already I feel like I'm slipping behind. Before the bogdown begins with tomorrow's professional day, here's the long Thanksgiving weekend rundown.

After being sick most of Wednesday with a mysterious fatigue and fever, we left home Thanksgiving morning for a surprisingly traffic-light and relatively cop-free drive across the width of Massachusetts to my parent's house to find Jesse and Jasmine just getting up after a 2 a.m. arrival. Mom and Dad had done the pies and dad's famous creamy leek and turnip soup the night before; the six of us traded off with a slightly ill Willow and the madness of preparing everything from rice-and-mushroom-stuffed trout to spinach salad to the traditioonal turkey. Sarah and her girlfriend Amy arrived from Amy's parent's house for a second helping, and we all sat down to eat by five thirty.

Not much to say about the dinner itself. The usual white tablecloth in the dining room by the big wall of windows; the dog around the ankles; too many dishes and too much food: sweet potato pie, a warm spinach salad with pine nuts, yams and baked potatos, dad's indian corn pudding, wild rice with walnuts, halved skinny squash with cranberries, the trout and the turkey, extra stuffing and gravy, homemade cranberry sauce. Willow asked for and got a nap by the eating hour's end, poor feverish thing; Darcie sat with her between dinner and desert (cherry or pumpkin pie, with or without the Paul Prudhomme's hi-octane whipped cream) while Jasmine and I cleaned up and the rest of the family went off to the nursing home to visit my grandfather, Jerry.

The next few mornings blur together, a haze of shopping and pinball interactions with the family. One morning we went out with Mom, Jesse, and Jasmine for a used kid's clothing expedition; on another, while Dad and Mom took Jesse and Jasmine, both artists, to the Rembrandt exhibit, Darcie and I took Willow shopping for shoes. Somewhere in there I sat for a few at a Starbucks and mapped out the first chapter of the book my students will be reading later this week, and picked up some low-rise brown leather winter boots to prepare for snow.

Throughout, Willow amazed every one of us, and I could tell anecdotes from here 'til eternity, but will leave it at this: by the end of the weekend, she had discovered the joy of the dark porch on a warm night, stuck beebles (ladybug stickers) to everything in sight for two days straight, ridden the same damn elevators a dozen times with glee, danced with each of us in turn, and figured out that there are two Bapas and two Bamas; I have never been so proud of this resilient little bright-eyed person, and I love her so much it consumes me sometimes.

On Saturday morning, in the midst of boot-shopping, Darcie and I took a ready-for-nap Willow to see my grandfather, a pretty awkward twenty minutes or so in which Willow and Jerry just stared at each other, and she clung to her mother. Later, on a second visit with my mother, we would realize that Willow was probably confused by the post-stroke Parkinson's mask he wears. She's used to social interaction, and she's got to memory of what he was like when vibrant; his inability to interact must have baffled her.

Friday night Sarah came back to join us all at a local mexican restaurant; the chicken mole was excellent, even if it caused extremely noxious gas for the next 24 hours. Afterwards I helped her rewrite one of her application essays for veterinary school; she's applying to all sorts of programs, hoping to be a specialist in exotics, filling a clear service gap despite the fact that such a speciality doesn't really exist. And, after a nice night out with Darcie just holding hands and window shopping at the uber-rich Atrium Mall, up late Saturday night helping Sarah with her other essay.

Darcie's parents came down Saturday afternoon to join us in a leftovers feast, too, and to compare and evoke family comparison stories. I think if I never see a turkey, it'll be too soon; I'm glad we decided to go out to Legal Seafoods (creamy award-winning clam chowder, and a delish fried catfish, my favorite fish) this afternoon in the midst of a Mom-and-Dad-sponsored trip for dress shoes and a cute purple snowsuit for the baby, and gladder still we decided not to take any of the ultimately twice-recycled leftovers home with us when we finally drove off into the sunset just a few hours ago, more than ready for home. Now, if only I had a vacation ahead of me...

posted by boyhowdy | 10:16 PM |

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