Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Today was an all too rare family day for us. Jen set aside her work and, of course, had no classes. Although she was feeling under the weather, she had suggested that we drive down to Plymouth to attend the "National Day Of Mourning." For those not familiar, it's a remembrance held every Thanksgiving by Native Americans to recognize what was done to them, and their continued struggles to preserve their culture.

It seemed appropriate and interesting, and so we loaded the kiddies in the car to head down to Plymouth, about a 40 minute drive on a good day. Except it wasn't a good day. It was miserable day. Rain poured down in sheets. I had to keep the car under 40 MPH. And along the way, I suffered one of those inexplicable brain glitches that switches off my common sense processor. Had it been functioning correctly, my brain would have told me: "Stop. This is a mistake. It's freezing rain outside. Turn around. Go home. Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV."

Instead, we pressed on, carrying a week's worth of clothes that still proved totally inappropriate. If nothing else, I got a stiff lesson that I need to do more to prepare for the coming winter. I can't complain about the weather, because it's been mild. But this weekend, I'm going to target or REI or someplace and buying every piece of water-proof, winterized piece of clothing they have.

When we arrived in Plymouth, the rain was coming down horizontal. Kalian gave us a look of horror. Liam, clinging to his plastic firefighter helmet for dear life, kept whimpering, "I want to go home." Naturally, we arrived 90 minutes before the ceremony started. We found the only coffee shop open in town and huddled there for some warm drinks, and a sanity check. The placed closed at noon, so we grabbed the kiddies, bundled up, and dashed three blocks over for the ceremony overlooking Plymouth Rock. We stayed about 2 minutes, ran back to the car, and drove three blocks to the First Calvary Church where the procession would march for some speeches.

I must admit, though I'm not the political one in the family, the speeches were powerful. And there was no small irony to the location. Several speakers noted that the Church was the one built by the Pilgrims. And indeed, the giant stained glass window behind the Native American speakers was a portrait of several Pilgrims. We sat, drenched, for about 90 minutes, listening to several rousing speeches. Then we packed the kids back in the car and drove 45 miles and a universe away, to a friend's house in Newton.

Actually, it was the house where he grew up. And for those who haven't been to Newton, its one of the more upscale neighborhoods in the Boston area. His parents' house was a spectacular maze of rooms that required a map. They served us a wonderful meal and we had time to catch up with friends, and meet make some new acquaintances. In all, a lovely end to difficult day.

Now comes the long weekend. Three days, and no Jen. She'll be working. No playdates scheduled. Crummy weather. In my role as childhood cruise director, I now must scramble to fill my children's day, less they kill each other.

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