It’s November already? Seriously? And I’m also supposed to understand that it’s also mid-November?
I did not see this coming. I just figured those anti-daylight savings time people were just a bunch of bellyachers. Maybe they’re onto something after all.
With Thanksgiving swiftly approaching, everything still feels out of whack again this year. Things are somewhat safer, of course, yet there’s this feeling of something still being, well, off. I entered a store yesterday and immediately began humming along to Ringo Starr’s “Photograph” which was playing overhead. It was only after I exited the store did I realize how strange it was not to hear Christmas music, which usually begins right after Halloween. I just hope Fox News doesn’t cancel their annual “War on Christmas” tradition because that would really ruin my whole season spirit.
And then there’s the whole matter of this inflationary supply chain crisis, which up until quite recently I was sure wouldn’t even affect little ‘ol me. But Gorgeous, who is much more attuned to grocery prices than I am, slyly suggested the other day that it would be “helpful” if I went out to fetch the turkey this year instead of her. “It’s so heavy to haul from the car and then up the stairs [to our condo],” she said. Helpful indeed. For her wallet maybe? Once again I’m being played, dear readers.
Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It all begins and ends with the food, of course. But there are also those innumerable memories which for me stretch back to the 1960’s. My family would all gather with cousins, aunts, uncles, and also the odd in-law or two; the latter I only ever saw on this one holiday each year, and about whom my toddler brain could never quite piece together how he or she fit into our shared bloodlines. This was the day that loud talking and laughter became omnipresent at our dinner table. And seemingly every adult in my family also kept a wary eye on Aunt Nancy, who never failed to elicit an off-color observation after finishing a second glass of wine.
Earlier this year we briefly entertained the notion of driving north to be with family for the holiday. However, with the earlier Delta variant, and now the current rise of cases in the upper Midwest, it seems that the most prudent thing to do is stay where we are and just have a Thanksgiving for two. There are benefits to this: I’m a dark meat lover and my lovely bride prefers white meat. There’s thus no competition.
So on that somewhat selfish note…
… I once again submit for your annual approval, all the things from A-Z for which I am grateful:
(A) My intrepid financial advisor, Hank. For all of his bizarre maneuvers, he did manage to keep the investment till firmly in the black again this year. He does continue to baffle, however. His latest scheme is a BOGO opportunity: buy one share in his offshore Cayman Island investment, get one Belarusian cryptocurrency coin.
(B) Booster shots. I do look forward to when I’ll be eligible to get one. The vaccines have been a miraculous achievement for the medical and scientific community. Hats off to them!
(C) Coronation Street. This one is really Gorgeous’ contribution to the list, as I don’t — ahem — officially watch the show. But what started as a new habit during the lockdown period is now a post-dinner viewing ritual in our home (courtesy of Britbox). I do admit to loving that one of the character’s name is Fiz. Fancy a pint, anyone?
(D) Vitamin D, which is what one gets in spades by living in Florida because of all the sunshine we receive here. Vitamin D promotes healthy bones. One study purports to show that it also has a protective effect against getting the flu. Each day, however, I smear sunscreen over my face, neck, and arms. I’m a living contradiction.
(E) We have an extra car which we don’t technically need. It’s mine, a 2007 Toyota with close to 180,000 miles and looks like hell thanks to the Great Egg Foo Young Mishap from a couple of years ago. It remains a daily embarrassment when we walk out our front door and enter the parking lot of our condo building. I park it on the extreme end of the lot, away from our newer one and all of our immediate neighbors. In spite of this, it runs great and is mostly reliable. For me it’s a luxury.
(F) Friends. Simply put, I have fewer now than I had in past years. Moving around so much, changing jobs, etc., has made it challenging to sustain long-lasting relationships. But I am exceedingly grateful for the friends who’ve stuck by me and continue to regularly keep in touch.
(G) My Gorgeous. To say I’m a lucky man is an understatement.
(H) Our heritage. My maternal grandparents came from Russia, and my paternal ones from Hungary. Gorgeous’ father was an Iraqi Armenian, and her maternal grandparents immigrated from Hungary. It makes for some awfully interesting stories and varied cuisines in our home.
(I) Health insurance. This is something I absolutely never take for granted. Being able to keep the coverage I had while working is was what allowed me to retire early back in 2014. Well, that and my lovely wife’s income too. Health insurance should be a right and not a privilege.
(J) The Jewish sense of humor. You don’t have to be Jewish to get this joke, but it might be a wee bit challenging if you’re not: “Two gentile businessman meet on the street. One of them says, ‘How’s business?’ The other one says, ‘Great!‘” (Hat tip to Jerry Seinfeld).
(K) Kindness. We live daily amongst so much division that I worry we’re becoming numb to it all. But every now and again you do see a story like this one that was recently shown on the CBS Evening News. Warning: watching it may result in watery eyes and/or a throat lump.
(L) Front line workers. It’s not just the medical staff over the last year that have been heroes. It’s been all those others who have put themselves in harm’s way to serve the public: grocery workers, mechanics, plumbers, heating/air conditioning repairmen, postal service employees, and restaurant workers just to name just a few. We all owe them our thanks.
(M) Meals out. We returned to eating in restaurants back in late May, two weeks after we got our second shots. We then stopped for all of August and September as the Delta variant raged through our state. For now we’re visiting them again, yet it still seems odd doing so; as if we’re engaging in something naughty. But it also feels good doing so again. Please remember to tip generously.
(N) I absolutely love afternoon naps. They are decadent defined.
(O) Being organized. From my mother I must have received the gene to keep my ducks all in a row. I admit to getting flustered when multiple things happen at once (well, “multiple” here can be defined as “two”), but I pride myself on being prepared and ready for most situations. Gorgeous is the same way, which makes our daily routines become synchronized quite well. Are you organized? Your significant other?
(P) Podcasts. Over the last year I’ve gotten hooked to listening to different ones, particularly during my workouts at the gym (hat tip to my friend Sue for suggesting it). Two I highly recommend: Rockonteurs (musicians Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt) and Conan Needs a Friend (Conan O’Brien). Do you have a favorite? Share it below.
(R) Reunions. Earlier this year I saw two of my siblings, and in October Gorgeous saw her daughter for the first time in over two years. Living far apart from family is complicated enough, but it was made even harder because of the pandemic. The wonderful things about separations, though, is that the reunions make everything better in an instant.
(S) My savings. Lord knows I’m not rich, but I am grateful that I was a slave to contributing to my 401(k) every paycheck for all of my career. I never panicked (too much) during those turbulent times (such as the 2007-2009 recession). For those still working, stay the course and keep to a strategy. In retirement I’m learning the same holds true: stay the course and stick to a strategy!
(T) Timing. We bought a new car in March of 2020, literally just before things began shutting down. We even had our choice of models. We were lucky.
(U) Underage. I may not get carded anymore, but I’m still not yet eligible for Medicare…
(V) This is a repeat from last year, but I’ll just say it again: Vaccines.
[W] WordPress. More than having an audience to read my imbecilic humor on this site, I’ve been very fortunate to get to know some awfully talented and friendly bloggers who have made the experience so enjoyable. If you’re at all thinking of starting a blog, I can’t think of a better platform to do it.
(X) Oh, X, how you taunt and terrorize me yet again with your vapid word offerings. I’ll simply leave with you this: XTC were an English rock band whose highest charting single was a song called “Senses Working Overtime.” Some of you might even have even have been fans of them (I wasn’t). There: you can thank me if this ever comes up for you at pub quiz night. Now go away, X. I hate your kind.
(Y) Being exposed to Yiddish words and expressions while growing up. The Yiddish language is full of absolutely wonderful put-downs and insults. You too can use them! One that every Jewish kid heard probably from a parent several times in his life is the word Shamatta. Its English translation is loosely the word “rags” but it essentially meant any article of clothing that your mother didn’t like. A common refrain was, “You’re going to go outside wearing that Shamatta?!!!”
(Z) Keeping with the Yiddish theme for just one more letter, we’ll end with another one of my favorites: Zets. It means to receive a spanking or a slap. This time it would have been from my father: “I’ll give you a zets like you won’t believe if you don’t come home on time!” So do have a wonderful Thanksgiving, dear readers, or I might give YOU a zets.
If you haven’t already, please try to give to a local food bank in your area to offer a holiday meal for those who are struggling this year.
From our home to yours, we do wish you a very happy Thanksgiving…