Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Quick Look Back at Thanksgiving Week

I have that discombobulated feeling that comes from beginning a day looking at North Carolina mountains, driving 8 hours, stopping for a meal with an old college friend in Jacksonville, driving 5 more hours, and sleeping in my own bed for the first time in a week.  Last week I watched a sliver of moon rise as I drove north, and last night, I watched a sliver of moon set--a sliver from a different phase but looking very similar.

Let me record a poem idea from a week where there wasn't much writing:  Jesus goes to Black Friday sales--Black Friday, Good Friday, lots of fun potential there--why haven't I thought about this idea before?  And then the hesitation--surely I've thought of this before?

It was a week where I expected to have more Internet connectivity than I had.  In a way, I'm glad that I didn't really have much connectivity after Tuesday, but I am now WAY behind in my grading.

Did I read a lot?  Not really.  I finished Toni Morrison's The Source of Self-Regard in small bits of reading time, and I devoured Lynda Barry's Making Comics in 2 separate reading sessions.  Both books inspired me to be more creative--I resolve to carve out some creative time during the month of December.  The book did not inspire the next generation to be creative with me.

It was good to be together.  We had 18 people gathered around the tables this year.  We saw relatives whom we hadn't seen since 2014, along with the relatives who come every year.  It's startling to realize how the children are racing to pre-teen/teenage years. 

Even without solid internet connectivity, we still had to wrestle the attention away from the screens.  As a child who always wanted to be left alone to read, I am torn in multiple directions.  I know that some of the parents would be fine with children's noses in books, but screens are different.  I also understand needing to escape the family bedlam. 

For the most part, we avoided arguments, even though the grown ups come from different political persuasions, and the children fought over fair distribution of resources and over the rules.  We had the kind of good conversations that come from lots of trips to get supplies and from long hours without screens.

I always think that I will hike more, and I don't.  I always think I will do some of the artsy-craftsy things around the Asheville area, and I don't.  But that's not the purpose of the trip, after all.  It was good to reconnect with family and friends along the way.

I always talk about the ramshackle house at a Lutheran camp, and we returned there this year.  For the first time, we had plumbing problems--backed up pipes.  The camp caretaker was very gracious about needing to roto-rooter (a verb?) out the main lines on Thanksgiving morning.

This year there was a bit of sorrow.  We know that the camp is in the process of selling some of the land that's behind the house that holds us.  Next year, there will be the ever-encroaching development, even closer to the house.

In a way, that battle was lost long ago--from the windows of the house, the super Wal-Mart always glows.  We had a long conversation with a pastor who explained the reasons why the sale needed to happen.  That pastor was once my campus pastor during my undergraduate years and was my grandmother's parish pastor after that.  Now he works for the organization that runs the Lutheran camps.  It was good to have lunch with him on Friday.

And now, I should get ready for church--and after that, the long afternoon of grading and laundry.

But first, the missing verse from "Frosty, the Snowman," as taught to me by the littlest member of our tribe:

"Frosty, the Snowman,
had a holly, jolly nose.
He walked into a building
and melted off his clothes!"

I wish it was last week.

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