Another Day of Vacation

Written 11/24/04

My in-laws live in Arkansas, the Northwest corner, up by Fayetteville. That’s where we are this Thanksgiving holiday. My in-laws grew up in Springdale, which is where the grandparents-in-law still live. Well, my father-in-law’s parents are still here. My mother-in-law’s parents are both dead now, but she was the baby in her family. Her sister still lives here and never left. My in-laws, however, left when they were young and moved to Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.

My mother-in-law has been an invalid since I have known her. She has a really bad back and has had so many surgeries, they should have put a zipper in. In the last few years she and her sister, who recently retired because of a disability, have been making blankets for the people who can’t get out of their houses from their church. I think they’ve made one for everyone. Now my grandmother-in-law is also a semi-invalid. An old ankle injury required two surgeries this year and the first one was extreme enough that she ended up in a wheelchair for four months. She really needs a second knee replacement, which she was supposed to have in February, but now she is a bit afraid of the surgery, because of the ankle stuff.

Normally when we get here in late Thanksgiving, the hilly mountains here are covered in brown leafless trees. This year, however, there are banks of flame colored somethings. I think they’re the beginnings of trees, but they’re small like bushes. Then there are orange and scarlet and gold trees. The Bradford pear trees are gorgeous and were a favorite when people began planting trees in the area to replace trees that were cut for either houses or farms. There are lots of them around and they range from green through red and then a dark purply color. It’s beautiful. There was a gorgeous picture in yesterday’s paper. I hope I remember to cut it out.

When we got here, the boys were thrilled to be here. Because the neighbor’s wi-fi reaches to Grampa’s living room. They sat in the living room for hours working on their computer stuff. But then, at nine, for some reason the wi-fi quit working. It didn’t start again the next day. The boys were sad. Grampa called Charlie, next door, and left a message asking him to turn it back on. It was broken, though. So he couldn’t turn it back on. Drats. We went to Starbucks, but they don’t have wi-fi either. There’s a family community center that has it, but they’re closed for the holidays, too. They won’t be open till Friday.

We are all sitting in my in-laws’ living room watching Emeril on the Food channel. This one is a USO type show somewhere. He’s in a hangar cooking and fixing a Thanksgiving Day meal for 2,000 servicemen. They’re not all Air Force. Some are Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. It’s at McGuire AFB. This must be in New Jersey because Miss New Jersey, Vanessa Baker, just served the biscuit “leftovers” to the head of the base. She was wearing a long sparkly dress and looked good. (Well, duh. She is Miss New Jersey.)

Trace Atkins is there to sing. He’s the Country Western singer who sings that song about “every light in the house is on.” My mom-in-law said, “CW is always depressing.” But I don’t think so. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it’s encouraging. It’s like that song “Live Like You Were Dying.” It says, “I went skydiving. I went Rocky Mountain climbing. I went 2 point 7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu.” It basically encourages you to make the most of the time you have and do what you were putting off. I appreciate that. I love that Randy Travis song about “I’m going to love you forever. Forever and ever amen. As long as old men sit and talk about the weather, as long as old women sit and talk about old men.”

Emeril made a smoked turkey jambalaya. Then he made sweet potato and bacon biscuits. Right now he’s making a dessert, with sponge cake, vanilla pudding, chocolate sauce, confectioners sugar, and some big heaps of frosting or whipped cream. It’s making me hungry and I’ve already eaten. Apparently this is Boston crème pie. Or some form of it. My mom-in-law says it’s not. Some guys are there from Fort Dix, too. It’s over now. He cooked for the whole 2000 guys. “A special thanks to all of you in the military. You make us proud to be Americans.”

Amen to that one.