• Thanksgiving

    by Jane Roland

    maggie smithThe older we get, the faster time flies.  I am amused by my young friends who complain that it seems that it was just Christmas and here it is again.  I won’t be around when they hit the years where they go to bed on New Year’s Eve and the next day it’s time for Santa. Maggie Smith in the wonderful interview with Charles Osgood on 60 Minutes said that working helps her deal with loneliness.  She further complained that when one gets old “Breakfast comes every half hour”.  I put the Christmas decorations away when I needed to unpack boxes for Easter, the bunny trappings have only recently returned to storage.  It isn’t laziness, nor inertia, we simply run out of steam, in my case the mind has tons of energy, my body not so much.  I am becoming accustomed to the terms of endearment showered on older ladies, “dear” “may I help you”, “sweetie”, and I guess I should be happy that they don’t say “there goes that crabby old crone again” or perhaps they do.  Younger folk assume that those of us fortunate to hit our “golden years” are relics of the dark ages.  Many of us keep up with the times and have an idea of what works and what doesn’t.  We also have the sense to accept suggestions.

    I didn’t start this column with any idea that I would launch into a treatise about the passage of time.  Thanksgiving was to be my theme and thus it will be.  I am thankful that I am not alone, that I have a great husband who supports everything I do, within reason.  I have four animals (one on the doorstep of the great animal farm in the sky), my children and grandchildren are close, if not in miles, in spirit and I am grateful that the internet, Face book, and email keep us connected.  There are even the occasional telephone calls; although, Mr. Bell would be disappointed to know that his means of keeping in touch is, little by little, disappearing.  I cherish my friends, personal and professional, many of whom overlap.  I love my job and hope that I can continue for many years, if only my feet hold up.  I learned that losing ten percent of my weight would improve the condition of the lower appendages; I thought this was a grand idea until I saw that slice of cake and piece of chocolate. I have come to accept the “silver” hair and wrinkles, mine and those of my friends.(who allow that to happen)  We run into people we haven’t seen for years, “oh my,” we think “how could they have gotten so old?” or a man who should be a little boy.

    I remember very little about Turkey Day (or tofurki for those who shun meat) when I was little.  Once when still stationed on Governor’s Island we went to Castle Williams for a feast.  This was the site of the disciplinary barracks over which my father had command.  We also received presents from Santa at that famed forte.  When we were transferred to Ft.Huachuca in Arizona, Daddy was post adjutant, and holiday meals were enjoyed with the troops.  It was an interesting time, late thirties and early forties, the enlisted men on that post were African American, the officers and their families, Caucasian.  There was no fraternization and, unless their wives were servants in the officers’ quarters, no families of the enlisted men.  My father was a favorite with those under his command and we were treated very well.

    When we moved to Tucson and had a house downtown near the university we filled the place with “orphans”, those who had no place to go for the feast.  During the war, we housed some British refugees and college boys who couldn’t go home.  I loved it…   Later we celebrated Thanksgiving with our doctor, Clarence (Chunky to his friends) Robbins and wife in their wonderful ranch house.  For several years there was a little girl in attendance with her family. Her father, Gilbert, had a successful hardware store, he came from a pioneering Arizona ranching family and was of German, English, and Mexican ancestry The family’s influence and contributions to Arizona’s history, including wagon making, commerce, pharmacies and music, are chronicled in the library of the University of Arizona.  This little girl, Linda, grew up to become a famous singer, as a sophisticated teenager, I found her and her brothers somewhat annoying.  They were very “cute”.  Little did I know?

    thanksgiving artFor the past forty years there have been different ways to celebrate, and celebrate we did.  It was always family and strays. Occasionally we all went to my cousin Mary’s on Lisbon Lane and Big Sur.  When Jay married Denise and they gave us two fabulous grandsons, we spent Thanksgiving at the home of Don and Lydia Criley, the boys generally in pilgrim garb or with Jean Cooksey at the Country Club…  Later we moved the feast to our house where it has remained these many years, the faces have changed, unfortunately because they have left us,  At one point there was a huge group, spread all over. Jean, sometimes Eleanor Work, Ann and Andy Simpson, Don and Lydia Criley, our two girls and later their families and Jay, Denise, Justin and Spencer, and anyone who needed a place to be…  The Simpsons are gone, but their daughter Suzi Matmiller, and her significant other, Bill Golden, are with us, as are Lydia, Sean and Becky Flavin.  The DeVines are coming, Justin with his lady friend, Megan, we don’t know about Spencer (he lives in San Francisco and might have an acting gig), and Vicki Knight. It grieves me that we see so little of Ellen, Jennie and their families, but that is life.  The birds fly away when they are able.  In the meantime we will thank God for giving us a wonderful country in which to live, despite the political turmoil, it is home and our friends cannot be replaced… Thank goodness for what you have and don’t be bitter about what you are missing.  It is time to give thanks and don’t worry about breakfast every half hour, just be thankful that there is still breakfast….

    Jane Roland manages the AFRP Treasure Shop and invites you all to the open house on Friday, November 22 from 5:00 until 7:00 and all weekend long..new items and special bargains throughout December.. gcr770@aol.com

    posted to Cedar Street Times on November 21, 2013

    Topics: Animal Tales and Other Random Thoughts


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