11.20.2007

The Snowy Day

Do you remember that wonderful Ezra Jack Keats book, The Snowy Day?

We had a little bit of that wonderment today with our first real winter storm. When we woke, there was a dusting of snow on the ground, and it was beginning to rain. Warm enough, we thought as we readied for the day, that the drive to school would be uneventful, if a little slick. By the time we all piled into the car (both kids had school today, and it was "Family Sharing" day at Dido's, which meant that we had to both be in the classroom at 10:30, so we decided to drop them both off, grab breakfast in Lenox, and then go to school, rather than doing the drive twice in one morning) the flakes were falling again, the kind of wet, large flakes that sound almost like hail when they hit your car. Our driveway was white, the road was white on top of icy wet, and we felt our first slight skidding shudder as we headed down the hill that is our road.

The H has only driven in snow maybe four times in his life, two of them in the last year (once here, when he arrived in April, the other in a big storm in Mammoth, CA with our friends last winter) and he doesn't like it so much. Plus I think he spends the whole time he's driving in bad weather thinking about how much scarier it would be if I were the one behind the wheel (he puts little faith in my driving ability in dry, sunny weather, so combination of me, snow and automobile gives him fits.) He was grumpy and white knuckled by the time we hit the "highway" that takes us out of NY state and into Massachusetts, and the two cars we saw slide off the road did little to improve his mood.

In Massachusetts, the snow seemed heavier and thicker than in our little town, and there was nary a plow to be seen. The trip that usually takes 30 minutes took almost an hour, and it was scary. If it hadn't been the last day of school before the Thanksgiving break, we probably would have turned around and just called it a family snow day. But we pushed through, breakfasted at (not nearly as good as I remember it from my New Hampshire high school days) Friendly's, and showed up for Dido's big day, which was lovely. After fetching the Babe, we all headed home to play in the snow (them) and work on taxes, mail and other fun (me.)

We ended the day with a field trip to pick up our locally raised, heirloom breed turkey from a beautiful farm about 30 miles away, in the south part of the county. (My friend over at The Town Tart used to live in this part of the county, and if I'm not mistaken, on my travels today, I may even have driven by the biker bar she used to own. Maybe she'll stop by and let us know for sure.) In any case, our beautiful bird will not be eaten on Thursday as planned; we accepted a last minute invitation to visit friends in Vermont for the holiday, and I'm thrilled. I'm thrilled even though the only thing I'm expected to prepare (and it's already done--I made it tonight) is cranberry sauce. This represents something of a change for me, and my attitude about my favorite of all holidays, and I'm still puzzling over the metamorphosis.

I've posted before about my Thanksgiving mania ( really--it's a disease- see here and here, and here), a truly unattractive need to be in total control of the food and festivities, to the exclusion of good spirits or good manners. I've been a real bitch about it in the past. This year, I could care less. We were supposed to have family visiting here for the holiday, but an ugly falling out, as yet unrepaired, has kept them from coming to us. I'm really, really sad about that, and for the last couple of weeks, until we planned to go away, I was anxious about the holiday, worried, I think, about the four of us sitting forlornly at home, trying to be festive.

Thanksgiving also has a history, for the H and me, of consistently being a rare day of raucous, explosive, f*** you fighting; he has a sour mien most Thanksgivings that culminates in no fun at all...but as he keeps remarking, delighted and surprised, he doesn't feel pressured and awful this year. He attributes it to not having overdue work (hard to have when you're on a work stoppage) but I think it's beyond that, and I wonder if, for us both, it's a kind of freedom in leaving behind the many profound relationships we had in California. Their many blessings also entail great and welcome responsibility, and although all that responsibility still weighs on us like a warm blanket, there is also a sense of joy and fleeting freedom in throwing it off and running outside into the cold air. Of course, this feeling is only a good one if you know you can then run promptly back inside.

Happy Thanksgiving, all. What will you be doing for the holiday? (This would be a good time for a little quick commenting, a little de-lurking, if you're so inclined, dearest readers.)

Love,
Paige

5 comments:

goodfellow said...

I am very jealous of your heirloom turkey -- nothing like that here. And I tried to find one back home, but never succeeded. Don't think I'll be able to find a whole turkey here, or fit it in our itty-bitty toy oven even if I do. And being Canadian, it is not Thanksgiving for us anyway, although it *is* my birthday (not to mention the babe's due date, which even though he didn't use to emerge, should merit some sort of festivity right?).

I LOVE thanksgiving though, and so feel very cheated at not having celebrated it this year. The H did not get the day off at work, even though he works for the Canadian gov't. They do some sort of trade-off between local and Canadian holidays, but from what I can see, we seem to have even fewer than before (which is fewer than the Americans to begin with). And you really need at least a 3 day weekend to all the turkey stuff.

The H claims I get very stressed and difficult at any holiday, even Thanksgiving. My memory though, is that I find Thanksgiving less stressful, more enjoyable. Everything seems golden and warm, enjoyably sweet. I have the perfect pumpkin pie recipe (for years I have toyed with James Beards' to get it just right, for us at least), which gives me no end of comfort. I really, really get your need to orchestrate the meal from beginning to end -- I am the same.

I wish we actually had that many people to come over. We are from small families -- I am an only child, and all my extended family is in Europe (for most of my life, behind the iron curtain). The H's is 5 hours away, and, more significantly, they do not "do" celebrations. Hence, the H does not really know how to make things festive, or celebrate. This makes every holiday fraught, and something of a disappointment (especially Christmas...all those unmet expectations). When I was a kid, we always had lots of friends over, but these days, we don't. We are a bit shy, and we have moved around so much, we don't have anyone to invite over (oh god, I am depressing myself on my birthday...).

Better stop this interminable post.

(well, I did want to mention that since moving to Europe, the H has really gotten into researching WWII, and this week is reading Band of Brothers. He'd love to take the tour they do every year, and is very eager to see the miniseries, so your H has been coming to mind in our house lately)

Paige said...

What a lovely comment, and I have lots to say about about it when I am not running to pack everyone for our road trip (dogs included, as they are off the kennel; cat and chickens left to fend for themselves until Friday.) But...who are you? Are you Monika, writing under another name? And if not, how did I get so many lovely Swiss readers? :-) Happy Thanksgiving to you! More later. xx Paige

swimgirlseries said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Paige. I'm glad it's going to be a relaxing one. I hope you and your family have a wonderful trip!

Talk to you when you get back.

xomk

goodfellow said...

Yes, sorry for being confusing, it is Monika. Blogger has decided that since my ISP is in Switzerland, it will turn everything into German (ignoring the French and Italian parts, as per usual). Not understanding German, I use the path of least resistance, and stay logged in as the H...

...So the turkey is going on roadtrip? One last hurrah?!

Have a safe drive!

Alto2 said...

You survived your first snowstorm. Hurrah! I do miss those locally raised turkeys from PA, but I was lucky enough to get an Amish turkey from my butcher here in paradise. I have that Thanksgiving disease, too. My mother finally witnessed it firsthad; hopefully, she'll quit her bitching now.

Happy to hear that there's been more harmony in your house.