Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The pre-holiday chatter. And what are you doing for the holiday?

You’re allowed to ask. Were it a regular day, it would seem awkward. Huh? Why do you want to know? But you can do it before Thanksgiving.

From a colleague: We’re having friends over.
That’s nice!

Well, we were late to invite and so people were all booked up. So it’s just one couple and us. Seems kind of puny to me.

From a student – my mom injured her ankle, so my sister will be cooking. It’s going to be bad.
Can you help?
I’m going to be holed up in my room working on outlines. Except it’s no longer my room. Ever since I left to go to school, my mom turned it into a “guestroom.” She tells me I can’t sleep on the new bed there. So she puts in an air mattress for me on the floor.

From another – we’re meeting my sister’s fiancée. It’s going to be awkward. I’ll be doing outlines upstairs too.

Yes, for students, this is a time of intense preparation. Around town, café life is, more than ever, concentrated around tall glasses of caffeinated beverages and stacks of papers.


From my daughters – we’re all packed! We’re coming home! [But from my younger one, who is now in her last year of school: is it okay if I spend time working on my paper?]

From a shop coworker – my whatever he is [nc: may I suggest occasional traveling companion?] will be in town. With his dad visiting. I’ll be at my parents.
That’s good, no? Can your whatever he is come over too?
Not really. Not with his dad. That would be awkward. Especially since he’s from Canada and they don’t do Thanksgiving there.

And who is doing the cooking?

From a student – my mother!
Is she good at this?
She's okay... [nc: is that what all children think? are they merely kind when they show pleasure at your efforts?]

From another student – my mother!

From another student – yeah, my mother!

And another – my parents joined this gourmet cooking club decades ago. So, as usual, they’ll be doing a gourmet meal for us.

And another – I’m doing the turkey.
Any interesting variation?
Upside down, to keep the breast meat moist.
I like to stuff herbs between the meat and skin.
How do you do that?
Gently, with your fingers prying the skin loose...

And one more – I’ll be baking lots of pumpkin bread.

Tuesday night. I close the shop where I moonlight and stumble home. I am very tired. I pass a mall where music is piped to the sidewalk all night long. Santa music. That holiday! I hum along.

It's here. The season of pre-holiday chatter, post holiday regrets, that holiday music, family travels, food.