November 23, 2012
See more Haiku My Heart at Rebecca's recuerda mi corazón.
Thick Black Friday shopping crowds
Time of the season
Back in the 1970’s, when we were married and didn’t have any children, I would wake up very early on Thanksgiving morning and travel over to my friend’s place. We would load up our gear and shotguns, his Brittany Spaniel, jump in the pick up truck and head out for Minooka, IL, where Roy’s Grandpa owned a large farm. We had breakfast on the way there and did all this so timed for a 6 AM arrival. Minooka is just a short distance from the Southwestern Chicago hamlet of Joliet, home of the famed statesville Prison, featured ‘Big House’ in the Blues Brothers first movie.
Our goal was to go pheasant hunting on Thanksgiving Day and return home to a warm kitchen full of delicious smells and tables and countertops loaded with food. In our case in those early years of our marriage, we went to either my Mom and Dad’s or Mrs. Spadoman’s Mom and Dad’s home for Thanksgiving dinner.
The hunting didn’t always produce results, but if we did bag a few birds, Roy’s spouse would clean them and put them in the freezer and we would gather in January for a wild game feed which was prepared by her capable North Dakota farm girl hands
At Barb’s Mom and Dad’s, the usual relatives from Milwaukee were on hand. They made the 90 mile trip and spent the day sitting at my Father-in-law’s downstairs bar that he had in the basement. These ‘finished’ basements were called rumpus rooms in those days. Football would be on TV. Detroit and Dallas always have hosted a Thanksgiving Day football game ever since I could remember. Of course earlier in the morning was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I missed it because I was out hunting with Roy.
There was a lot of drinking going on. Schilitz beer, for the most part, maybe a few shots or mixed brandy and water or brandy and seven highballs and cigarette smoke. The turkey in the oven was there, but not of importance to the gathering, which was completely the opposite when we would go to my Mom and Dad’s home for Thanksgiving dinner.
At the Spado residence, there would be a complete turkey dinner, with all the trimmings that included sweet and mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing and a couple of vegetable dishes along with the rolls and butter, and a complete Italian lasagna dinner, also complete with meatballs, sausage, bracioli, (Bra-Zhole’), salad and cantaloupe or some such fruit to cleanse the palette. Then came the pies, about three or four of them, but no alcohol. Just what we called Pop. Canfield’s, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Pepsi Cola or 7-Up. Funny how food is or is not important to American families.
We moved away from the places where we grew up and shared holidays with family and started our own life and traditions. Thanksgiving was the American traditional feast for years in our home. Similar to the above mentioned turkey dinner.
For a couple of years, we went to our Irish friend’s home on Thanksgiving where everyone brought a specialty Mexican dish. I always made Chile Rellenos from scratch. Funny, we had chili rellenos last night for dinner. I made Chili verde to top them and it was fantastic!
As time marched on and I learned that some of my Native Indigenous friends took offense, and rightly so, with Thanksgiving and Columbus Day for the atrocities suffered by the first inhabitants of this land of ours we call America, I wondered about the why and wherefore of ‘celebrating’ a holiday that brought so much horror and unrest to a race of human beings.
Later in life, I realized that in my heart, I didn’t harbor the idea that we needed to make anyone suffer for our own greed and that I will live my life making sure I don’t have the hatred and do all I can, when I can, to end the practice of discrimination of anyone.
I still, however, am a product of this society and celebrate the idea of Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day, but pray and thank the creator for blessings each and every day.
I wish you good Peace in your heart and in the hearts of all that you hold dear. I Thank You for your friendship.