So at long last the Holiday season is just about upon us .I know the malls and stores started playing Muzak versions of Rocking Around the Christmas Tree before we even sent the little ghosts and goblins out to extort candy from the neighbors but to me the Holidays start with Thanksgiving. It is one of the most perfect of holidays with excessive amounts of good fattening food, oceans of wine, lot of laughter and of course football in the extremis. I am not a fan of the retail rush to Christmas. In fact I hate it. There is no evidence it increases sales or profits and in fact it irritates me to the point I want to slap the crap out of fat guys with beards and short people wearing green on general principle. It’s just annoying. As my old partner in the door to door book business used to point out the rest of the year I’m just a grouchy a-hole but this time of year I become some sort of happy-happy ho-ho mother something or another.
I write this every year a day or two before the actual day occurs. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Eve and generally I start cooking the night before. The stuffing gets made and there are onions to sauté, celery to chop and sausage of several varieties that need to be fried and mixed into my savory creation .There will be butternut squash to whip and sweet potatoes that cry out for roasting and smashing. Others will be getting their junk touched by aggressive TSA officials at the airport, or perhaps posing for suitable for framing portraits of their nether regions in one of the new scanners, as the travel back to hearth and home for the occasion. Many others will be enjoying the spectacle of lights a twinkling…brake lights that is as they endure the back up of turnpikes, beltways and interstates on their way back to the bosom of family and friends. Still others will be jammed into trains and buses as they head home for the company of those they could not wait to escape when they left home in the first place.
It can be a special time. It is a chance to renew acquaintance with the obnoxious cousin you have pretty much hated since birth. We share apple pie and the opportunity for Mom to suggest we need to lose weight and change our hairstyle or pester us about grandchildren we have no intention of bearing. Doubtless Aunt Juniper will pass out in the rocking chair again this year have consumed too much of her the fruit of her namesake berries and it’s a safe bet Uncle Herb will pinch your wife on the ass again this year in an annual ritual of shameless buttockal groping. Its a magical time to eat drink and remember exactly why you never liked your second cousins third husband and rediscover all the ways your particular family puts the fun un dysfunctional.
All joking aside it is a time for families and for gratitude. We have a bunch of family and friends coming to Chez Melvin this year and we would not have it any other way. There will be wine, there will be pie, a giant turkey bird and all the trimmings my warped little mind can think of to enjoy throughout the day. There will be football.Above all there will be gratitude for all we have and the life we are so lucky to live and share together. We find much to be grateful for this time of year and here is just some of my list.
How can we not be thankful for the magic that is life itself? We lose track of it all someday but life brings so much to love, to savor and to enjoy. It is critical that we do not let the day to day garbage makes us lose sight of all that makes life so simply wonderful. There are full moons, sunsets and as I have discovered thi year sunrises you can see without staying up all night (more on that later). We live in a world that has books full of knowledge, adventure dreams, hope, answers, questions, poems, relaxation and inspiration. We have music from the soul solacing sounds of Mozart and Beethoven to the gut crunching guitar licks of Stevie Ray and JJ Cale, We can enjoy the melodical pattern woven by John Coltrane and the lyrical twisting of a Lyle Lovett (how can you not love a line like “I’d ride my pony on my boat) song. There is food of every description from steaks on the grill done to a sizzling perfection to seafood fresh from the bay and everything in between for us to enjoy and fuel our journey through the days.
More than ever I am grateful for friends of all stripes. We live in a land of slow breezes, fast boats and quick laughter here on the island and I have been blessed with incredible friends. The mix of people I am fortunate to call friend ranges from the married up tire guy to the Mr Clean look alike firefighter, form the goat and the shacked up freeloader to the bread man, from tic tacs and meatballs to cupcakes and wedding planners ,crack babies to shaky electricians and just about everywhere and everyone in between.
Friends goes beyond the island as well. There is everyone from the irascible curmudgeonly options trader to the cheese head and they have all added much to my life. The world’s only Iranian Jew was just here for a visit just before he went into viral celebrity for a brief but good visit. The handicapper is in NYC running stock market cartoons and projecting some sort of lines on charts, the spread trader stops his fun filled journeys to war torn nations and famine stricken banana republics long enough to check in from time to time. The Wiz and the Professor are still doing exactly whatever it is they do to hammer on the markets and the chairman still does his best to deflate ballyhoo and avoid hoodoos of all stripes. The counter count, the chartists chart and the opinionated opine and I am happy to call them all friend. They have added much to my life and my world.
Of course I am grateful for my children even when I am contemplating locking them in a dank dungeon full of James Joyce novels and leaving them in there until they can rationally explain Ulysses to the average person. My son’s twisted sense of humor and sarcastic mannerisms hide a sharp mind and a kind heart. I probably do not tell him enough but I am proud of him and the success he has already begun to achieve in his short time here on the planet. His mind naturally grasps the concept of business and profits and he is wise far beyond in 22 years in the ways of commerce. My daughter still has her too loud infectious and a voice that climbs a decibel with every sip of wine. She is adamant about being a teacher and has shown a perseverance and determination to reach the goal she set for herself. She has vercome the five years of being sick, worked her way through the first few years of school and is now at 26 finally a full time student closing to reaching her goal of being broke and happy as an elementary school teacher. I am plotting to get Tim Hewson to immigrate and marry her so I don’t have to pay the extras for the rest of my life. I figure it we are going to have an Ayn Rand loving libertarian school teacher in the family we might as well add an Irish trader with good taste in booze and books. I love watching the two of them continue to grow and learn to love life. Now I f I could just get my son to read a book.
There is an addition to the list this year. There is now a seven year old step daughter in the mix and the madness here at Chez Melvin. This energetic young Mensa candidate is either going to keep me young or wear me out in short order. She is a blonde haired, earlier rising sweet heart of a girl named for an Irish cattle stealing Queen and she is a welcome addition to the family. As a sign of her extraordinary intelligence he adores Lisa already, is getting used to her step brother and is altogether unsure about myself. Told you she was smart! She is a reader, with a sharp mind and loving heart who adds much to our family mix.
With a stepdaughter of course comes the person for whom I am most grateful this year. After giving up on the concept of ever finding someone who could put up with me it actually happened this year. I met the one person I really think I was destined to be with for life and maybe even beyond. I will spare all..okay some..of the romantic sappy stuff but when I look into Erin’s eyes I am sure I have had my last first kiss. We met in May, married in September and I cannot imagine my life without her ever again. She is everything I never thought I would have in my life. I was not looking anymore but the universe put her in my life and she has become my world. Above all this year I am thankful for my wife and the love we share and the grand adventure of life we have before us.
Life has its bumps and bruises. Almost nothing is going to go as planned. Life is unpredictable. Quit bitching about it and enjoy the journey. No matter your circumstance of current situations there is much about life for which to be grateful. There are raucous nights and quiet Sunday mornings. We have grand symphonies and party time rock and roll. Here is knowledge to be gained and lessons to be learned. There are bright sunny days for play and majestic rolling thunderstorms to watch in awe. Life is here like or not. Learn to embrace it, to enjoy it and above all to be thankful for it as this holiday of gratitude comes upon us this week.
I will lift my glass to you my friends on Thursday. I wish for you to have laughter and love, a thirst for knowledge, a zest for life and above all a sense of gratitude for the many wonderful moments that make up our lives and I thank you all for being a part of my life.
I am off to pour a glass of wine and begin to slip into my happy happy ho-ho state of mind