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Filtering by Tag: Thanksgiving

I DON'T EVEN PLAY ONE ON TV

Cindy Maddera

I had this actual conversation with my brother over the weekend:

Randy: "Do you have access to liquid nitrogen where you work?"

Me: "Yeah, but I'm not sure I have a liquid nitrogen container. Why do you need it?"

Randy: "I have this mole on my face I need to burn off. Maybe I could just come up there the next time we visit and you can burn it off for me."

Me: "or you could go see someone who knows what they're doing...like...I don't know...A DOCTOR!"

Here I was thinking that my brother wanted some liquid nitrogen for some cool project he was working on. When I found out he wanted it for self mutilation purposes, I started laughing. It was so completely a Dad thing for him to say. Our Dad was constantly asking me for medical advice. He'd say something like "Hey Cindy, I've got this thing on my elbow. What do you think it is?" I would look at it and say "a dangerous mole you should have the doctor look at." Then Dad would say "oh...no...maybe there's something you have at work that you could put on it." To which I would respond "Dad, I'm not a doctor." My Masters in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics was the equivalent to Medical Doctor according to my Dad. It was one of those things Dad did that made me simultaneously laugh and roll my eyes. 

I was walking down the hallway recently when Grief walked up and punched me hard in the gut. The air rushed out of me as I crumpled to the floor, gasping for air and trying not to throw up. I thought "Grief, you fucking asshole bully, when are you going to leave me alone?!" Then I remembered that Grief is not a bully, but a chronic illness. The holidays are not easy. Chris and I hosted our first Thanksgiving in the first house we'd just signed papers on. The next day he turned yellow and it was all down hill from there. Oklahoma Thanksgivings after that are scarred by the memories of the times when driving to Oklahoma became an all weekend affair. The car ride did not end once I had made it to my parents' home. That was just a pit stop before heading even further south only to spend half an hour or so with Dad before turning around and heading back. The Thanksgiving before Dad died was the last time I visited him where he was still Dad. He still had his sense of humor. He still knew who I was. I didn't have to remind him that Chris was gone. I didn't have to remind myself that Chris was gone. It's like Thanksgiving has become that last barely decent holiday before everything falls to shit. 

I remember how Dad would call just about every thirty minutes whenever Chris and I were driving from OKC to Tulsa and ask us "Where are you? How much longer until you get here?" It would drive us crazy. He was our phone version of the kid in the back seat saying "are we there yet?" every five minutes, but then we'd reach a point where we'd just start laughing about it. Dad could just be so ridiculous. My brother has started to resemble our Dad more and more. Not so much physically as in behaviorally. I noticed it the last time we were all together at their cabin near Branson. We were all sitting around outside, reading or playing games on our phones, except Randy. He was up and futzing around the camp trailer adjusting this or that. It was something our Dad would do. Whenever we were camping, Dad was always futzing with the camper or messing with the grill or making trout lines. I guess I do this too at times. Our lack of stillness is genetic.

Randy thinks we're teasing him when we call him Bud (my Dad's nickname), but what he doesn't know is that when we say that he's being so much like Dad, we mean it in a good way. Or at least I do. He's taken on those things that Dad would do that makes me laugh and roll my eyes all at the same time. It keeps Dad's memory alive. When Randy does a typical Dad thing, it makes me smile and laugh more at the memory than at Randy. I need those memories. I need to be reminded of Dad's goofball sense of humor and of the things he'd say and do that would make me roll my eyes.

GRATITUDE AND CHRISTMAS BALLS

Cindy Maddera

I realized a few days ago that December is going to be tight. Meaning there's stuff happening every weekend. Meaning, if I want Christmas decorations to go up in our house, I need to get a move on. The problem with that is I am one of those people who are adamant about not decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I can go into a thirty minute rage over seeing Christmas ornaments on display in the shops when Halloween isn't even over. We rode our scooters through a neighborhood a few weeks ago and they had all of their Christmas lights on. Not just up, but ON. This drives me crazy. CRAZY! This year I had to make a slight exception to my rule. I spent Saturday deconstructing our old wreath and wrapping it with new ribbon and then filling my decorative lantern with red balls (baaallllls). 

Weeks ago I had purchased some LED lights from IKEA thinking that they were battery powered, but when I opened them I realized I had bought the wrong lights. I dragged Michael back out to IKEA on Sunday to buy the correct lights (and a few things we didn't really need: picture frames, door mat, something else I can't even remember). We bought so many strands of the battery powered lights that I was able to put two strands of lights with my balls (giggle) and wrap a strand of lights around the wreath. Then I still have a set left over that I might use with the nativity scene. I haven't put the nativity scene out since, well, you can probably guess. I put the wreath on the door and then looked at Michael and said "I'm going to Christmas the fuck out this house this year!" Michael just nodded while staring at his phone and mumbled "okay." He doesn't care as long as he doesn't have to get on the roof and put on lights. Though, I might drag my tomato cage tree out this year.

Any way, apparently this year I am all "Trim up the tree!" or my Southern lady gene has finally kicked in. That's probably it. I am making a pumpkin pie this evening from pumpkin that did not come from a can (what have I become?). The pie is for Thanksgiving, which we will be spending with my family in Oklahoma on Thursday. The next few days will look something like this: drive drive drive, spend the night at Mom's, gather around her table for Thanksgiving, digest that meal while spending the evening with my brother and sister-in-law, lunch the next day at White River Fish Market because now that Michael knows it exist we always have to go there, drive drive drive, spend some time with Michael's moms, drive and home. Then I will spend the weekend putting up our new Christmas tree and dragging us back to IKEA because we don't have enough lights for the new tree. And also, it has dawned on me that I am about to set up a seven foot tall Christmas tree and then leave it alone with Michael, the dog and the cat for a week. Bets on who knocks it over first?

I am grateful to have the next few days to spend time with my family and squeeze everybody's neck. I am thankful to have the next few days to get things together for Christmas (including taking our card photo). And because I am so grateful to have all that time, I'm taking the rest of the week off. May your homes be filled with love and laughter and warmth durning this Thanksgiving. Remember to be kind to each other. Some of us are entering 'out of the blue' territory. Remember that before politics there was your family. 

Peace out!

THANKFUL LOVE THURSDAY

Cindy Maddera

I just got sent to my room to write this entry. I had mentioned last night that I hadn't written anything for today and figured I would let it go this week, but apparently Michael grew tired of me standing in the dining room looking for something to do. So he sent me here. Very soon, in just a short hour or so, this house will be full. The kitchen is already warm from the oven as Michael is preparing the turkey he so excited about. For now, though, it is quiet. The Cabbage is still in her pajamas watching My Little Pony and I'm sitting here in my bed writing this post. 

As I stood in the bathroom getting ready this morning, a prayer song came to me. It's one we all know. "We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing..." I may not be a religious person but that doesn't mean I am irreverent. All across this nation people are gathering today to eat a lot of food, to watch parades and football. Plenty are even putting together their game plan for grabbing Holiday deals on Black Friday. Even with all of that going on, I am sure everyone of us will take a moment, one simple quiet moment, to give thanks. 

Today, I am grateful for my past. I am thankful for the love and life I had with Chris, the stupid silly moments I had with J and the simple crazy adventures I had with my Dad. I am thankful for all of the moments I was blessed to share with them. 

Today, I am grateful for my present. I am thankful for the love and life I have with Michael and the added bonus of the Cabbage. Two for the price of one. We filled out paper work yesterday for domestic partnership. Michael is slowly easing me into marriage. I am thankful for my family who could be with us today to share in our joy. 

Today I am thankful for my future. I have no way of knowing what's ahead. There are hopes and dreams, a feeling that more good things are to come. Of course there will be more loss. That is inevitable, but pain is always mixed with joy. Again, two for the price of one. There is something I do know, because often past, present and future sit together in one plane. The future holds more love, joy, silly moments and crazy adventures. 

I send peace and love to all today. Have a wonderfully Thankful Love Thursday.