Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Dance Party: I Don't Count Sheep

I don't see those fabulous Ficcas nearly enough, but they have woven themselves into the fabric of my life.
This morning I had pecan pie for breakfast, which happens only once a year;  obviously, it's the day after Thanksgiving. 
Please pronounce my annual breakfast treat correctly.
The accent is on the second syllable: "pe-KAHN."
"PEE-can" is where you urinate when you
can't find a bathroom.

The pie was the surviving remnant of yesterday's feast, more about that in a mo'.  Thanksgiving is not a big holiday in my family, our traditional feasting on that day passed out of fashion decades ago when my mother died.  There was always a significant distance factor to our family's attempts to gather, and Christmas has become the big family holiday for us.  Even though my father and all his kids now live on the east coast, we are still far enough away from each other to make it difficult to get together for Christmas and a month earlier as well, so Turkey Day faded from our familial consciousness.
This family Thanksgiving included my grandmother, and occurred years before we left Atlanta for Los Angeles. Note my mother's stylish bouffant.
For years, then, Thanksgiving for me was simply a quiet day which happened to have a parade and a lot of football interrupting daytime television. 
Last year, Nan and Ray moved our dinner to the bar. We'll
never go back to table service again.

About 6 or 7 years ago, though, my buddy Ray called out of the blue and wondered if I had plans to celebrate Thanksgiving, and if not, would I be pleased to join him and his wife and a few of their strays for dinner at a local eatery.  We had a blast, and a tradition was born.  I look forward to these dinners with Nan and Ray, which some years are quiet affairs with just ourselves, others are bigger gatherings of their friends.  In recent years, we've refined the tradition quite satisfactorily.  We meet at their favorite watering hole and spend 6 hours or so seated at the bar, enjoying drinks and the meal. 
Yesterday's Thanksgiving, where I was the only one without
a team shirt or jacket. I've been promised a Redskins earring.

Yesterday, football was added to the mix, as my hosts are avid (one might even say rabid) Redskins fans, and the team was playing.  Everyone who knows me will be astonished to discover that I actually watched and enjoyed the game.  Perhaps the 6 hours of cocktailing had something to do with that.

So, Thanksgiving really is a party day for me.  Usually, I overlook its real meaning.  This week, though, I've been thinking about the things for which I ought to be thankful.  The family is relatively healthy, including my father who turned 85 this year and is still going strong. 
My family's Thanksgiving celebrations have splintered. Christmas is our big day.
I myself have had some health concerns which, thankfully, are now under control.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about my good fortune regarding my living arrangements, which include comfortable residences in two of the most interesting cities on the planet. 
Whether she's a "blessing" or just a stroke of good luck, I am very thankful for my Claudia.
I'm lucky to be maintaining that life, though it comes with a cost.  I am going to have to face my own fiscal cliff very soon, but just as our legislators are likely to do, I'll probably kick the financial can down the road a bit, and deal with it in the new year. 

I was reminded several times this week of more of my "blessings," which I put in quotes because, though that's what everyone else seems to call these bits of good luck, I hesitate to label them so. 
Another blessing.

The word "blessings" seems to imply that some specific person or entity is responsible for granting them to me, and I'm more likely to believe I have had simple, but profound, good fortune.  Specifically, I'm talking about my friends.  I had lunch early this week with one of my oldest and dearest, who has been at my side, supporting me and accepting me, since my grad school days.  I have a few such intimate friends, and in addition, I am continually reminded that I am surrounded by dozens and dozens of others who wish me well. 
At an audition this week, I ran into Carl and several others who
wonderfully wander through my life.

These are folks who wander in and out of my daily life; I often don't see them for long periods, but then I bump into them and remember why I consider them friends.  Perhaps we are not all that involved in each others' daily lives, but when I see them, I am reminded of their acceptance and support.

This week's Dance Party does a good job of illustrating my feelings this week.  The song was written by Irving Berlin for his film White Christmas, and both Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney had success with it, having introduced the song in the film.  Instead of visiting that clip, though, here is songbird Diana Krall with a slightly more heartfelt rendition.  It is the perfect way to sum up my feelings this Thanksgiving. 

It comforts me to imagine that my blessings, or bits of good luck, are somehow connected to my mother's spirit. Frankly, that's easier for me to believe than that a specific deity might have decreed I deserve certain "blessings." But whatever these are, these blessings or bits of good fortune or cosmically designed shards of karma, I am grateful to have them. Thanksgiving is a fine time to express that gratitude.