Thanksgiving was always a special time for my family when I was growing up. My father worked very hard to give us an upper middle class lifestyle, but he never wanted us to forget the type of poverty that his father used to pretend he came from.
On Thanksgiving, we didn’t have a fancy feast. We used to go down to the local kitchen where we would see those much less fortunate than ourselves and we would stand in line to eat their simple fair. It wasn’t fancy, but you could see that for some of these people it was the only real food they’d get that day and maybe that week. My dad taught us not to complain as we sat at the folding tables and dined with these poor and simple folk. My dad would give them colorful nicknames like “Harmonica Bob” or “Crazy Cat Lady” or “Black Comb Head”
At first my sister and I were frightened by the odd people around us. I remember one year we sat across from a guy who was having a very loud argument with himself. Instinctively my sister and I recoiled, but my father taught us we didn’t need to be afraid of the man because he was one of God’s children too and it was alright for us to laugh at him. My dad would even offer his piece of pumpkin pie to the person who did the best trick for us. Sometimes we’d get thrown out, but mostly we just sat there enjoying Thanksgiving as a family forgetting how much money we had in our Cape Cod in that exclusive neighborhood where we lived.
We’d be home by 7PM and my parents would tell us we should go right to bed and think about the people we had met. They’d remind us that if the Democrats got elected we could all be living in a homeless shelter for real and then we’d be asleep by 7:30. It was only by accident that I later discovered that when my sister and I were asleep, mom and dad would go out to a very nice restaurant and have an elegant Thanksgiving dinner together.
I had wanted to keep this tradition alive with my own daughter Ayn, but my wife would have none of it. She insisted that we have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner like families do. Though calling us a family was certainly a stretch. After all, in a family one of the spouses isn’t flirting with the neighbor across the street while the other spouse is working in Washington to do the people's business. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving from the Kimble family such that it is to your family.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Today, millions of Americans were off from work because of Veterans Day, but I wonder how many really thought about why they were off. Veterans Day is a day to think about those brave few who gave so much for this country. I do this in the way I have since I was a small child, by watching war movies. Nothing says “thank you” to our country’s veterans like watching their exploits dramatized on ...cable television. One of my regrets in life is that I was unable to serve in the military. Unfortunately for me, my family was well off and I really had no option other than college, but I like to think I would have been a great soldier. The American fighting man is the best in the world and we do them a grave disservice when we don’t use them. To our veterans who served when their country needed them, I thank you. I am not a soldier, but I have been wounded in our cultural war and I continue to try and fight the good fight. Isn’t that what Veterans Day is all about?