The Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The worst travel day of the year in these United States.
Take a deep breath and drive.
Despite a 5:30 am start, a fairly vigorous storm, and a sleeping teenager in the backseat suffering from the start of a nasty cold, we made it to my hometown in relatively short order. In fact, my mother was surprised by how early we arrived and scolded us because she hadn't finished making beds or putting out fresh towels.
It was a cold, wet, dreary day so apart from a quick lunch at a local Irish pub, we stayed in the apartment. There was plenty to do: catching up on some client work (that would be me), pulling out tools and playing handyman (that would be my husband), preparing side dishes for the next day's feast (my sister), and looking through stacks of photographs from recent horse shows (my daughter and her grandmother).
Soon, my brother, sister-in-law and marvelous niece showed up. We had chicken chili and watched back-to-back Charlie Brown Thanksgiving specials.
The first was familiar. The kids (Ever notice how grownups don't exist in the animated world of Chuck Brown? Except for the occasional "Mwah mwah mwah.") made a holiday dinner that included toast, popcorn and jellybeans. This menu would actually go over pretty well in our house. Except the toast.
The second was new to me, having aired in the early 90s (after I was a child and before I had one). It placed the Peanuts gang aboard the Mayflower, Charlie Brown in a drawstring version of his trademark zig zag shirt. They suffered through the long journey to the new world (including countless scenes of the settlers getting seasick — I wish I was kidding), settled Plymouth Plantation, made friends with the Indians and enjoyed a celebration of Thanksgiving. Essentially the same story we're always fed and less than accurate if you start digging.
Apart from our own family's feast (at my cousin's in Westchester County where there will be much wonderful food and probably no toast), this morning was supposed to be the trip's highlight. Per usual, my daughter and I had planned to walk up to Central Park West and muscle our way into the crowd to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Alas, it's not to be.
Midway through Charlie Brown's pilgrim adventure (really, did Charles Schultz have anything to do with that subpar program?) my daughter fell asleep on the couch. We could barely rouse her to head into the bedroom and once my mother located a thermometer we learned that she had a 102-degree fever. So, apparently, the cold is more of a flu and that means ...
No parade for us.
She's still sleeping as I type this and savor a cup of my mother's coffee. When she wakes up, she will be p-i-s-s-e-d. But, I'll remind her, as her mom, I have to make the tough decisions. And sometimes the not-so-tough, just unpopular. Taking a feverish teen to stand out in 30-degree weather for three hours wouldn't really qualify me as a responsible parent, would it?
We'll be back here in a couple of years, but meanwhile, you can take a few minutes to read my Thanksgiving parade remembrances on Women's Voices for Change.
Have a wonderful holiday full of love and joy and gratitude.
And be particularly thankful that you're not on the Mayflower, getting seasick with Lucy, Linus and Charlie Brown.
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