A THANKSGIVING STORY (reposted, as per yearly tradition, in honor of Michael): Back when my son was seven or eight, his mom was sick with some kinda nasty virus. I was feeling a little green around the gills myself, like I was probably next in line.
It was the kind of flat gray, chilly day that is nearly ubiquitous here in Wisconsin during the month of November (I guess it's weird, but I have always loved days like that). As morning turned into afternoon I was feeling less and less of an appetite; my wife didn't want to even look at food, much less drag herself through the six hour chore of making The Traditional T-Day Dinner. But my son, as little kids are wont to do, was getting hungry.
Back in those days there was a little country store called Steckel's just down the road from us. It was dimly lit, usually empty, and sold only about three things: Beer, tobacco, and hot dogs (that wasn't enough to keep poor old Steckel in business with all the urban people moving south of Madison, but that's a story for another time). Anyway, whenever I went to Steckel's—for beer or tobacco products, typically—I'd pick up a hot dog for my son, who used to have a major jones for hot dogs.
As the day began to darken, which happens at about two in the afternoon in a Wisconsin November, I was trying to get it together in my head to at least go to the supermarket and pick up a roast chicken or something. At least pretend that we were having Thanksgiving dinner.
But then my son had a brilliant idea. "Hey Papa, just forget the Thanksgiving dinner thing. Let's go to Steckel's for some hot dogs!"
He didn't have to work very hard to convince me. Maybe I could manage to choke down a dog. I wasn't feeling very well at all.
We got to Steckel's in the somber gray dusk, bought our hot dogs (which had slightly stale buns and had been on the grill too long) and went right back home. It seemed like a singularly beautiful moment to me; the fact that my son was possessed of that kind of empathy, all the many, many things my family and I had to be grateful for, the battleship gray of the fields and the sky which foretold snow on its way. We ate our hot dogs and watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles, our perennial Thanksgiving movie.
My son has never forgotten that day. "Our best Thanksgiving ever," he says.
I would have to agree.
Posted by Alois on