• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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There Were Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things


My view is that writers are loners, outsiders, chameleons and con artists. Thanksgiving, therefore, is a trial. Family is a trial. Warm feelings are confusing. THe only thing I don’t feel ambivalent about are the baton twirlers; I love all the hope implied in a silver rod turning around in the sky like an acrobat before it’s caught in the chubby hand of a girl with the sun in her eyes.

How will you get through the day?


27 Responses

  1. With knowing that it is only a moment

  2. For the first time I’ve called a truce with the holiday and am staying home. I’m writing ~ at least tonight. And have decided that long trip after which I feel worse — pull into the rest stop and cry — worse are not undertaken needlessly. So for the first time in countless years I forego a long trek where I will be greeted , find gossip , some warmth and much food. Like most writers of course I feel ambivalent :). And even more I find myself pressing my nose at imaginary windows of humor , joy and an imaginary holiday.

  3. I will get through it like the beat, beat, beat of the Tom Turkey leg bone!

  4. Maple whiskey, a man who cooks, and a real friend

  5. Signed my divorce papers last week, so I won’t be going to the in-laws anymore. I planned to stay home alone but my daughter is sick and will be with me. I don’t eat turkey. It should be a lovely day.

  6. I’m cooking for 20 so I don’t have time to ponder anything but perfect timing. It’s an easy meal to cook, but serving everything on time and hot is the challenge. I have three ovens (don’t ask why) so all should come out fine. Tonight I collapse. Happy bird to all.

  7. I’m a block from the parade, on the Upper West Side, visiting my son’s family, especially my darling granddaughter, Anna. If you see a doting Bubbe holding the hand of a teetering 14 month old who is exceedingly pleased with her walking skills, that’s me!

  8. Writers are loners and outsiders only until they’re not. This is true of other people too, I think.

    Today, I’m grateful for words, which are my friends—damned annoying sometimes, but where would I be without them?

  9. My proposal for my rock biography — Strings Pulled, Wishes Granted — running on an endless loop in my brain, I will eat drink laugh. All the while adding, subtracting, tweaking. Turkey’s almost done.

  10. I love Thanksgiving, probably because we keep it small. However, there’s a funeral on Saturday, and seeing family I haven’t seen forever is terrifying. My husband summed it up perfectly, “You have to go to show them that, despite everything, you still turned out pretty normal.”

  11. Grown kids who are fairly entertaining. Someone else’s family. Weed and extra dessert.

  12. With equanimity. The greatest lesson I ever learned from my mother.
    (Never could twirl that rod though.) Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  13. Poorly, as it turned out.

    • Me too I’m afraid. 🙂 What were we thinking?

      • Hope springs, I guess.
        My family tree got pruned this year- father, aunt, niece, all gone. So we joined old friends for the big meal.

        Big mistake.

        Cross talk, interruptions, sentences completed by others, and assertions that make stupid look brilliant. Fuck. I was reduced to a single-cell organism, ingesting and waiting to excrete. Drinking would have helped, but there isn’t enough booze in the fucking solar system to make this shit sufferable. I prayed for deafness.

        It sure felt good when it was over.

      • I think considering that, Frank, I feel better at how mine turned out? Not sure. Time will tell. Of course, there will be Christmas with the usual suspect.

        Is it New Year’s yet?

  14. Susan wanted we have a vegetarian T-giving, so I said, okay, but we’re having a ham at X-mas. Because isn’t that what X-mas is all about? Ham? Or geese? Or even a duck, but I have cooked duck, and it sets off the smoke alarm.

    So she made a squash soup, with fresh ginger and curry, and she made stuffing and salad and steamed broccoli, and I poured the wine and earlier in the day we had coffee and pie and mixed nuts. And so we toasted ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ and were thankful. And remain thankful.

    We stay as far away from family as we can. They’re all right, but we wouldn’t pick them for friends. And they wouldn’t pick us.

    We did other things, too, but I won’t bore you with them (they weren’t what you’re thinking — is that all you ever think about? you’re worse than teenagers).

  15. Yeah, mine was good this year. Dinner for 8 with just the A-list, family clique. Easy people; the best. And for the first time, NO TURKEY! I’m so damned sick of turkey, so it was beef tenderloin, and fixings provided by guests. It was awesome! Then more wine, sweets and ending with hot chocolate by the fire pit. After too many years of f’d-up-ness, with whack job family and “friends,” I think we finally got it right.

    Thankful for you writers, too…

  16. Well, it’s two days gone and I survived. There was the hint of family drama from the usual suspect. This person has to always be mad at someone. She hasn’t been mad at me in a while, so I suppose it was my turn.

    This was over taking pictures for Christmas – which we’ve never done before on Thanksgiving day. This was announced by the usual suspect in the first five seconds of me finally sitting down and visiting with my guests. I balked. Considering my mug wasn’t on her Christmas card last year…why do you need me? That was my position. It didn’t go over well. There was seething from the usual suspect.

    Sigh. At least the meal was good.

  17. Went to Rochester to see my wife’s mother (fading away) and sister. In the late morning of Thanksgiving day, my daughter and I walked along the Erie Canal. She had read about the canal recently in school, so the walk was, hopefully a better reality than anything Google could offer. Except, of course, for all the trash. On the way back, across the water and up on the concrete bed just under the broad iron bracing of a street bridge, a red blanket fastened to a line moved with the wind. Nearby were some cardboard boxes or possibly a sleeping person — my eyes betray me sometimes and imagination compensates. I’ve slept under bridges before, as have many others, but I’m almost sure it was boxes. Possessions, or nothing more than the coincidence of trash and a snagged blanket. Thinking about the homeless among us on a day of plenty in the land of the free.

    Later, after our family meal, I returned to the hotel to swim and watch football. Near the lobby a group of people were gathered in the breakfast buffet area. Prepared food in aluminum pans and covered with tin foil was stacked on one of the plastic patterned tables. Beverage dispensers rested on another table, along with bundles of napkins and silverware. The lobby smelled splendid enough to make me hungry all over again. The people stood holding hands, young and old, and offered a graceful prayer wishing well to family near and far.

    Thank you.

  18. Back in my cheerleader days our skirts were mid-thigh, long sleeved, blue and white and modest. Not like today when majorettes, cheerleaders and tv newswomen look to outdo each other in how much body they can reveal, Our South High football team always played the Thanksgiving game in Akron, Ohio’s Rubber Bowl. Our town was the rubber capitol of the world in those days.

  19. With patience. Concerning those baton twirlers: I am in awe. They are the heart of every parade.

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