The holiday season moves along its path like a juggernaut, smashing through the obstacle of time to the percolated culmination of the season: Christmas. In the meantime, there was much turkey to be had. My newsletter this week will detail the holiday I actually celebrated, and did so twice in fact. We've had some steadfast Thanksgiving traditions for a while now, and it's always a pleasure to share the holiday. Next week we will return you to your regularly-scheduled newsletter with Plattsmouth holiday features.
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This year the holidays were just a little bit different. In my family, we have two Thanksgivings: one takes place on the real Thanksgiving at lunch time with my father's side of the family, and the other the day after with my mother's side of the family. This year though, the former one didn't take place at my aunt's house, but instead in the rest home where my grandmother and grandfather both currently live.
My father grew up in a little town in Iowa called Missouri Valley. For those of you who have never been there, it's a small city right around the size of Plattsmouth, or roughly thereabouts. It is criss-crossed with old railroad tracks and large granaries, as well as a main street which is a strange conglomeration between the past and the present. When we pass through the city, my father can point to different places and tell me what was there, like the movies he saw at the Rialto Theater, or the place where he lived during the floods in Missouri Valley during his childhood that forced them to the high grounds.
Emily, one of my many sisters, was coming behind us, and we went to Aunt Susan's before the nursing home. My father had misread an e-mail and believed we would still be eating there, but that will be at Christmas time. So the entire buffet of food was packed up from Susan's house and driven up the long and winding road which led to our destination. It sat on top of a hill which overlooked the rolling farmlands and patches of wooded area that were covered in the thinly-veiled blanket of the first snow of the season. It was decidedly cold, and certainly enough so that being outside for any length of time would cause great discomfort. But (without much help from me) the entirety of our meal was lugged into the room along with a folding table, and everything was spread out upon it for the eating.
One of the things done both before, during, and after the meal was tending to Emily's little ham of a baby girl, my neice Abbi; she was at both Thanksgiving celebrations, and I was excited to see her. She's three years old now, and was absolutely adorable. Tickling upon command, giggling, sharing her time without shyness around the room, she was simply a wonderful child. Being at that toddling age, she toddled up and down the hallways while taking an interest in everything that didn't mean confinement to the little room. When it was time to eat though, she actually cooperated and was so enthusiastic that she nearly choked herself trying to inhale her bread roll. The food was absolutely delicious, though I always wish there was more stuffing. We were also missing deviled eggs, so I figure that around Christmas time, I can make those and bring them so I don't feel quite so useless. We all had a good time catching up as well as watching football. At least, those of us who aren't completely bored with every aspect of football (I.E. not me) watched it.
Friday was an entirely different sort of day. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and this would normally be the time where I'd provide some kind of aid to my mother with the cooking of the meal we have at home. This year however I needed to babysit my 4-year-old nephew from 6:45 AM to 5:20 PM... For those of you who have not had much exposure to that age bracket, you might not understand just how much of a task this was. Still we had a pretty good day. It was also cold, so we spent most of the morning wrestling each other and watching Spongebob Square Pants before heading to the park around noon. It was still pretty cold, but we spent two hours there in various park activities like throwing sand clumps at playground equipment, eating half-thawed ice, and swinging on the giant yellow swingset. I can't recall the last time that I'd actually swung on a swingset; they aren't exactly configured for adult use. When I found these powerfully sturdy things, I was more thn anxious to try my legs at it again. The only problem was that the swingset's target height group didn't include 5'9'', so my feet had trouble with the not touching the ground part. Then we went home and watched Shrek 3 and then Shrek 1. Shrek 3 is terrible. As usual, a trilogy seemed to be out of ideas and instead utilized hacknied Frankenstein-style plot twists which involved the amalgamation of different stories along with past gags/famous characters mashed into one in an attempt to be a coherent new plot. Spiderman 3 was still more disappointing during my holiday break; Eric Foreman is NOT Venom. I will say no more, since I could say a lot more.
After I got home from way too long babysitting, there were people in my house! Emily, Jeff, and Abbi were already there. Jeni (Charlie's mom) had gotten home from that long working, and had to turn around to leave again for family events. Dinner was ready before she got there, and since it was basically just the miscelaneous clump of kids who showed up (me, my brother, his girlfriend, one of my sisters, one neice) along with my parents. Most of the time was spent in different rooms of the house in various bunches where we talked away from whomever had to be temporarily stuck with the combination of Charlie and Abbi together wailing as though they wished to rouse the dead from their eternal slumber to walk among the living again. But hey, the food was great! I've been eating the leftovers of it for so long now though that by the time I've gotten around to writing this newsletter, all I really want to do is never look at holiday food again. Lo and behold though, my father was already breaking out the Christmas stuff. He's majorly damaging the 2-week buffer I need to put between myself and Christmas so I don't get tired of the holiday before it shows up.
On a secondary note, Saturday I was supposed to be at traffic school for a speeding ticket, and I actually totally forgot. Monday on my way to work I remembered, and I felt like kicking myself in the shin for it. It slipped my mind entirely from all the chaos of the Thanksgiving season. This is what happens when you don't schedule anything ever, I suppose.
If you're wondering what's up with the distinct lack of pictures, it's mostly because I usually end up never taking any during family events. I hate to spend time I could be spending with my family taking pictures of them spending time without me doing anything but standing there and taking pictures. I do have one shot though I took of the graveyard between Weeping Water and Louisville.