Monday, December 6, 2010

What I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation.

Do you remember having to write these for school about your summer?  I'd spend all summer going to Roseland Amusement Park, on vacation with the family, in talent contests at Sonnenberg Park, exploring on bike rides with my friends from one town to another, and then this question would be posed as I re-entered school and I'd go blank.  Nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch.  The blank page would just stare back at me.  So, before I forget last week and all I did, I thought I'd write about it, and what better place than in my blog? Enjoy the peek behind the curtain.....
The gondola ride at Roseland over Cdga lake

I did work in the beginning of the week, mostly from the office, but I did do a quick round trip to Amsterdam NY.  I made my son Nolan file for me one day, as my work files were really backed up.  This serves three purposes, it catches up my filing, it connects Nolan to what I do, and I get small reminders of him as I travel.   If you ask Nolan what I do, he can tell you.  He can also name several of my brokers and a lot of my operators.  For me, I love nothing better than to sit in a meeting with a restaurant chain or a food distributor holding a folder that has been labeled by my 10 year old.  It connects me back to where I'd rather be.  So after I finished work on Wednesday, that's where I headed, 100 feet across the driveway to my home and where I started my Thanksgiving Holiday. 

     A lot of folks like to relax on holidays, but I am just the opposite. The busier I am, the more people I see, the happier I am.  I started the holiday, Wednesday evening,  preparing the stuffing for the next day.  We were cooking 2 -12lbs birds and a 26lb one for dinner and leftovers.  Char and I worked together in the kitchen, her making pumpkin pies and me making stuffing.  Our kitchen is a little tight, but I have to admit to enjoying the close proximity to my bride and additionally to copping a couple of feels of her butt as she passed close by me (those readers of my blog on rumps will instantly connect with this picture).  My staple, a Sapphire and Tonic was close at hand and I was instantly in a festive mood.  When the cooking was done I caught up on some of my shows off the DVR (It backs up a lot when I travel), and turned in around 11. 

I awoke slightly before the alarm went off at 4:30 am and pre shut it off to not wake Char.  I do that a lot, I have a great internal clock.  I dressed and loaded up and headed over to the Gorham Firehouse where we have held Thanksgiving for the last few years.  My brother Ace is a member, so we get a good deal on the rental. 

What I could have been wearing to cook, but not this year.
 He was also the reason I was up so early.  He insists each year that the turkeys take longer than they do, so I frequently find myself over there before the sun goes up. We discuss it each year, but truth be told his memory is not so great, and mine is only a step or two behind, so there we find ourselves putting turkeys in the oven at 5:15 a.m.  (They were done about 10:15 for a 1:00 dinner, so I could have slept in a little).  After the turkeys are in, we have a pot of coffee and talk about the plan for the day.  (The picture to the left is my kitchen  at home another year with me in my red silk jammies, a gift from a friend)

Brother Ace at the stove.
     My mother always warned me to stay hydrated, so after the coffee, it's time for a Bloody Mary.  Ace and I have just enough time for one before Char and my family come to take me to a Turkey Trot.  This is a 6 year tradition and is in memory of a local favorite coach, Jim Tuck, who passed away a while ago.  We normally do about 5 miles walking on the track and then head in for some cocoa and coffee and to chat with all the attendees.  Then it's back to the firehouse.  By this time the turkeys are nicely browned and we start to cover them with foil.  Some firemen that are hunting pop in to check things out and to wish the family well. Ace and I set up the tables that we will sit at.  It's a small crowd this year, only 21 of us.  On good years, we get near 40.  The crowd starts coming in around 11.   It's funny that, for as much time as we get to spend around each other as family, we always crave a  little more.  I like that, but it also means I have to share my Bloody Marys.  We have music from a small Ipod playing in the kitchen.  Ace and I have been collecting songs for a few years as we have catered together, so it's a really eclectic mix.  All my relatives show up with a dish, we plan it on our family website, so we don't get duplicates.  Our family website is about to celebrate it's 11th birthday, and it is still going strong.  I like that too.  Everyone finishes arriving and now it's time for one of my favorite T-day traditions, the prayer and giving thanks.

     For as long as I can remember my Dad had always given the same prayer for Thanksgiving.  I don't know it's origins, but it's not Thanksgiving to me without hearing it.  Dad's been gone for a while now, but I found a close copy of it on the Internet and start the meal with it.  We stand in a circle around the table holding hands, and when the prayer ends, it's time for each individual to say what they are thankful for.   There are serious ones, and humorous ones, but I like my mother's 4 F's the best.  She's thankful for  Faith, Family, Friends, and Food.  It about covers it, doesn't it? 

My mom this year at Thanksgiving
We then feast on the shrimp, turkeys, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, olives, rolls, corn, squash, and a bunch of other things.  We have a whole other table set up with just desserts, like cookies, pies and cakes.  If you leave hungry from a Yarger party, you've no one to blame but yourself.  The adults linger over their plates and enjoy some conversation, while the kids break off to play games.  Eventually we start to clean up, and unlike when we we kids, no one tries to dodge doing the dishes or helping  clean the hall. 

My son Nolan and his cousin playing chess.
The day ends much too quickly for my taste, but around 4-5 the crowd starts to disperse.  We make sure that each family goes home with left overs, for when they get hungry later.  The tables and chairs get stacked and put away, the floors get swept and mopped, and soon it's just like the day started, just Ace and I having a drink and talking.  (Actually Ace's wife was there at the end too, but I haven't introduced her in the blog yet).  I accidentally sent my car keys home with my coat in my other car, so Char runs back over to bring them to me (sorry honey!).  We lock up and another family Thanksgiving is in the bank and an unqualified success.  I do get hungry later and make a turkey sandwich before bed.

     I wake up early on Friday and write last week's blog.  It takes about 2 hours to write and get the pictures I want.  I head off to my office, even though I am off, and catch up on 4 expense reports.  After lunch I clean the garage to get ready for some high school friends that are coming over to play poker. 

Back wall of the play room in the Garaj-Mahal
 We got the group together a few years ago, and it's as much about camaraderie as it is about cards.  They show  up around 7 and we have a blast until 11.  We smoke cigars, have a few beers and catch up on the happenings in each others lives.   I lose my 20 bucks, but my friend Todd walks away with $88, he's the big winner that night. Char comes out to the Garaj-Mahal to help clean up, but there really isn't that much to be done. We get in the hot tub and turn in about an hour later. Just think I am still only half way through the weekend!

Saturday comes and goes like any other one.  There is the obligatory trip to the dump with the trash and recycling.  I stop by Ace's house and spend some time catching up with his son and a few of his buds that are up for the weekend.  They talk about calling me to go out with them later, which I do a lot.  We are all going to a Bills game on Sunday together.  I catch up on some Scout work and another committee I am working on for my son Dan's graduating class.  Before you know it, it is 8ish and I am wondering if the call is going to come to go out or not.  Truth be told, I can use the night in, but I'll rally if the call comes.  It doesn't, so I take a few more shows off from the DVR. 

     We sleep in til 6 on Sunday and are headed over to Ace's by 7:15.  We want to beat the traffic and we are set for a few hours of tailgating.  It ends up being one of the warmest days that I have ever seen at a Bills game, around 40 degrees with sun a lot of the day.  We deep fry a few things, and share them with the groups close to us in the  parking lot.  The girls have made Chili and Mac and Cheese too, so we get plenty to eat.  We smoke some cigars, and head in to the stadium about half an hour before kick off.  The Steelers are in town and it promises to be a good game. (I'd like to wring the neck of the guy who invented the "Terrible Towel" thing though, it's pretty annoying to have those things being whipped around in front of your face when you are trying to enjoy a game, but after all he was a Steelers fan, he can't be that bright by definition)

The view from my seat as we had Big Ben backed up in the end zone

We all bought our tickets separately, but Char and I are able to keep swapping seats until we are next to my nephew and his group. His folks are up about 25 rows, surrounded by Steeler fans.  We are in the end zone 4 rows up.  That's the good thing about a bad season, the better seats start coming up for sale as the season ticket holders lose interest.  I love it when we win games, but I just like the action, and this game has a lot.  Fred Jackson breaks free and runs straight at me for a 65 yard touchdown.  I watch 3 defenders take him at the 15, and he still spins in for the score.   Later I watch Stevie Johnson drop the game winning pass in the same end zone.  It's heartbreaking for me, but I feel for Stevie, that's a tough thing to live down, just ask Scott Norwood.  What a great game though, and we even went into overtime again.  I got my money's worth for sure.  My brother Ace and his wife may not feel the same way, a fight broke out around them and security ending up pushing, shoving, and trapping them as they rounded up 30 people to eject from the stadium.  Ace and his wife went to the parking lot after that and listened to the rest of the game in their car.  We tailgate for about an hour after the game and then head home. The Thruway is backed up all 90 miles we drive, but it was worth it, and I'd do it again next year.  We get back about 9:15, and have a little time to relax before we head to bed and set our alarms for 4:30 and head back to the grind.  Well, that was how I spent my Thanksgiving Holiday.   I certainly avoided the blank page syndrome with this blog, but I wonder what kind of grade it will get? 

My nephew and I out on the town another time. 


Daphne Mays said...

I'm tired just thinking about it! 4:30 isn't morning though. Trust me on this! ;)

cdyarger said...

Nolan will enjoy the connection with him in this one!

Blogger said...

VaporFi is the best electronic cigarettes provider on the market.