I just came home to the sweetest message from Jules, calling from her car in "Minnesnowta" on her way to her folks' for Thanksgiving, and wishing me the best for mine while voicing regret that we've not seen one another for "like, ten years." Just the kind of message to add a little bit of gravy to an already lovely day.
My family always has Thanksgiving at my Uncle's here in town (or Shorewood, to be exact) and so I was there this evening, already hanging with Aunt Helen, Uncle Bill and senior-at-Ripon-College-cousin Ben, along with Helen's cool brother Chuck and his equally-cool wife Patsy up from Raleigh, and then with late arrivals my brother Joe and my sister-in-law Daniele. Ben had just arrived at home from Ripon when he was dispatched to fetch me for drinks before dinner, but not before Aunt Helen plied him with wine, which, I remarked, could only be interpreted as a severe decline in parenting skills in Ben and Becca's absence. Naturally I repeated that remark for Helen's benefit after I arrived, which was suitable razzing revenge for her teasing of me the other week at Harry's Bar and Grill in front of Diane and Tim.
Lots of talk about anything over wine before dinner, over the curried stew Helen had whipped up, then over the caramel-and-vanilla ice cream with butter cookies for dessert, and then finally in the living room or dining room – wherever you ended up for pleasant digestion. Bill talked about books with me, as we'd both read Joseph Ellis' book on George Washington, His Excellency, in recent months, which we were both enthusiastic about, and so there was some commentary on what Washington contributed to the success of American democracy simply by his model of exercising – or not exercising – power. Bill also was almost rapturous over a piece of fiction he couldn't recommend highly enough (nor, I saw, could the blurbs on the jacket, with reviewers of very respectable papers using unusually superlative language), which was Ian McEwan's Saturday. Amused that I currently gave the bulk of my fiction reading over to the serialized fiction of the comics world, he also recommended a book his book club had done some months past, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay by Michael Chabon, which I'd heard positive things of in some other context. Chabon, I also now recall, wrote a Justice Society of America story I enjoyed sometime not too long ago, so he knows that literature from the inside. Oh, and just grabbing these links from Amazon, I realize I also just read a positive review of The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel in America not long ago. From there I drifted into stories from Chuck on criminal defense law, and the current fashion in murder in North Carolina, which he says tends to go in waves of certain types of victims or perpetrators. Some talk of Spanish language and cultures from Ben, Helen and Daniele wove into the talk, and the night ended with Ben just dropping me off after we four young ones stayed up later talking (and waiting for Ben's wine to wear off) about language-translation gaffs and funny double-entendres we had heard over the years.
Good times. And oodles more family showing up by noon (it's going to be a packed year) to add to the love and fun. Helen already sent me off with leftovers.
My personal favourite moment from last year's Thanksgiving (wait for it...):