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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wonderful predictability

Thanksgiving used to be hard for me. I don't mean in the "I hope my stuffing turns out all right" kind of way, but more in the gypsy, I-don't-know-where-I'll-be sort of way. I haven't spent it with anyone in my nuclear family (parents, sisters) since 1972. My parents moved to North Carolina in 1974. When I was working retail (1980-1987), I always worked so-called "Black Friday", so going far was never an option.

1980- With my girlfriend at the time and her son, but clearly at a point prior to breaking up, which happened four days later. That girlfriend used to, and probably still does, remember JFK in her blessing; the assassination was 43 years ago today.

1983- With with what turned out to be a short-term girlfriend, awkward first meeting of her family in the Bronx. We broke up about five weeks later.

1988- Don't specifically remember, but I do recall getting a phone call telling me that my friend Nancy was dying of cancer; she passed on New Year's Day, 1989.

1994- Awkward first meeting of the girlfriend's family. At least we didn't break up until a year and a half later. (And we got back together - that was with Carol.)

1996- Invited to Thanksgiving dinner a few days earlier, then at the last minute, the offer was withdrawn, for reasons I never understood. I sat home, sulked, and ate Chinese takeout. The only year since 1973 I've watched both NFL games in their entirety, which is NOT necessarily a good thing.

It's not that every Thanksgiving was a bad experience. 1982 at the home of my previously-mentioned friend Nancy with other "orphans", 1987 with an Alice's Restaurant number of folks in Oneonta, a couple years in a row with friends Steber and Jean from church in the early 1990s.

But since 1998, it's either been at our house, or more likely, at my in-laws. A certain predictability. For this regularity, I am most thankful.
I'm thankful for Robert Altman, who died this week. I've seen only a handful of his films, all in movie theaters, but I've enjoyed each, in their own way:
MASH (1970), California Split (1974), Vincent & Theo (1990), The Player (1992- probably my favorite Altman film), Gosford Park (2001), A Prairie Home Companion (2006) . I tried to watch the acclaimed Nashville (1975) this summer on TV, but wasn't able to do so. I wondered if he was a director who needs to be seen in the cinema. Then I discovered that he used to be a TV director. Surely, I saw some of episodes of The Millionaire, Maverick and Bonanza that he piloted. I'll try Nashville again sometime.


EM said...

In other words, having Thanksgiving with her family is one of the signs the end of the relationship is coming? :-) You never see that in the relationship books!

Seriously, dude, have a wonderful Tahnskgiving and my best to your family!

GayProf said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Roger! It sounds like you have filled all your bad T-Day karma for this lifetime. Now, start worrying about that stuffing!

Lefty said...

Have a great Thanksgiving. I haven't had a family thanksgiving for five years now, and if I had a car (Mrs Lefty has it) I would be up in Yosemite hiking around...we all have our little Thanksgiving rituals. So this Thursday I'll be having a crock pot stew, watching some TV, playing Xbox, and calling my wife, my Dad, my sister, and a friend that I have known for years....and and listening to Elvis Costello.