Anticipating Thanksgiving: Ten Years Later

I apologize in advance. This post is self-indulgent, but it’s just expressing how I feel at the moment.

The Week Before Thanksgiving, 2005

I was, as always, looking forward for our annual trip to North Carolina to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my wife, my sister, my niece, and my mom and dad.  I was in charge of roasting the 16-pound turkey every year, primarily because of my soy sauce, melted butter and liquid smoke baste… which gave the bird a buttery, smoky flavor and rich brown color. And there was my sister’s rich, delicious pecan fudge pie. That alone was the worth the trip. But spending time with my wife and family was, of course, the main attraction. We only got down there about once a year, and it was one of my favorite times. We always started the return trip home on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and had made a tradition of finding someplace interesting for an overnight stay on the way home. One year it was the Strasburg Inn in Virginia. One year it was the Sky Chalet with sweeping views of the Shenandoah Valley. It was always a good time.

The Week Before Thanksgiving, 2015

I awoke this morning, as I have for the past month: with the fear and gut-wrenching anxiety that comes with not knowing how I’m going to pay my rent, make my car payment, pay for car insurance, and pay back all the money I owe other people. I have two part-time jobs: working for American Airlines, and driving a taxi, but I still just scrape by. And I look ahead at my plans for Thanksgiving. Well, Mom and Dad are both gone, and after having lived in her rec room for a large part of this year before returning to State College, I think my sister’s pretty much done with me. I’m no longer married, and am now going through a separation from a subsequent marriage. So it’s just me. After years being married, and having a large circle of family and friends, I admit that I am having a great deal of trouble adjusting to life alone. And I don’t like it. My plans for Thanksgiving day consist pretty much of driving a taxi from 7 in the morning until 6 in the evening. CATA doesn’t run buses that day, but people still need to go places. So it might be somewhat lucrative. I hope so.

People keep telling me that I just need to maintain a positive attitude. They tell me that life is good. They tell me that I’m lucky just to be alive. They helpfully point out that there are a lot of people out there who have it a lot worse than I do. They are correct on all points. But at the moment, I am just not feeling it.


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