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REVIEW: THANKSGIVING 2005
25 November 2005
My plan had been to do what I normally do, which is to post my next entry (this one) the morning before it is to appear. Don't ask me why. It's this weird routine I've gotten into. But I was up against a laptop running Windows 98 on a dial up connection and it was just too damn frustrating, so I decided to wait and write it when I got home.
Given that this was one of the most fun Thanksgivings in recent memory, I'm very glad that I waited.
I took very few actual photos, but lots more video than I intended. I took the camcorder thinking it would be nice to do a Thanksgiving video, and got far more than I bargained for.
It started, really, the day before, Wednesday, when Walt dropped me off at my mother's on his way to the San Francisco Symphony. He would attend the symphony, then go home and tend to the dogs, and return in the afternoon of Thanksgiving.
My mother and I decided to go out to dinner that night so there was no preparation or planning to be done. Instead we sat down to chat.
Prior to my leaving Davis, I had watched a marvelous video made by a guy who remembered the stories his father told when he was a child and who was sad that his father was now gone and he only had the memories, but not the sound and the sight of his father telling them.
As my mother started to tell me a story I hadn't heard before, of the hard times my paternal grandmother endured in the months following the San Francisco 1906 earthquake and fire, when she lived in a tent city with so many other families, I whipped out the camcorder and started filming.
Before I knew it, I had just about filled up a tape and it was time to go to dinner. I had my mother take me to Long's after dinner to buy more tapes.
On Thanksgiving morning, I filmed her making her famous turkey stuffing. I've been watching too much food network, I guess, but I will never again forget how she does it, because I have it all recorded on tape.
While she was doing other preparations, I was reading through a book of the writings of my great grandfather, Josiah Milton Kirkpatrick, who was once the editor of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. I realized that I knew stories of my mother's grandparents, but always got confused about which story went with which grandparent, so after the table was set...
...I had her sit down and talk to me about her grandfather. I kept the camcorder rolling. I am thrilled to have this history on video (though I haven't watched any of it yet).
Guests began to arrive and I filmed a bit of the "ambience." I loved watching Ned laugh in the kitchen with his grandmother.
and clown around with my mother's friend, Paula.
Tom carved the turkey ("Dad needs a vacation"), with Laurel's able assistance.
During dinner, Tom and Laurel kept us entertained with tales of their recent trip to Spain and Morocco and I videotaped a very long, but very funny story Tom told about trying to find the Irish cousin's pub in the slums of the area of Spain where they were.
Following dinner, Ned said he had a surprise and he went out to his car and brought back a huge box, filled with old home movies.
'DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S ON THAT ROLL OF FILM?" I shrieked on seeing the big take-up reel on top of all the other movies. I not only knew what was on the roll of film, but I remembered that it had been put on the reel backwards, many, many years ago.
Ned not only knew what was on the reel, but he had already rewound it and it was ready for viewing. We watched it and laughed a lot and I videotaped the movie. (There are people reading this right now who are very nervous. I can be bribed with clam dip.)
Then Ned brought out other long-forgotten home movies the kids had made when they were young, like Superman and I dream of Genie, all of which brought out high hilarity.
Tom and Laurel had brought a DVD of a montage of video from their wedding 2 yrs ago, which we had not seen yet, which made us laugh and cry in all the right spots.
Finally, it was time for Tom to put together his Baked Alaska, with help from his father and Ned.
...and a supportive backrub from Jeri's boyfriend, Phil (who was spending his first Thanksgiving with us, while Jeri was in Boston). Phil and Jeri have known each other since before high school, I believe, but have only discovered a mutual attraction recently and we are so pleased. He's a great guy.
I got good video of the lighting of the brandy to pour over the Baked Alaska, but no photo (Ned got a good one, though).
Finally it was time to leave and come back home again. I left with a big grin on my face and nothing but good feelings inside. It had been a low-key, stress-free, family-filled Thanksgiving and it couldn't possibly have been better (unless, of course, Jeri had been able to fly out from Boston).
Oh -- this is a review, right? OK...I give the evening a very solid four stars (out of 4).
But the video is going to have to wait for tomorrow because it's already 1 a.m. and I want to go to sleep...
PHOTO OF THE DAY
All that tryptophan starts to work...