The imminent arrival of another Thanksgiving means the holiday season is upon us, and when we are through the holiday season, 2020 will be upon us. I’m not sure I’ve ever been less happy about an impending new year. Thanksgiving has been a problematic holiday for me ever since 1973. It was the day before that Thanksgiving that my brother J.F. or Jules as he preferred to be called when he became an adult, died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 26 years old, and had just begun his residency. He was my family’s pride and joy. His death devastated my oldest sister in particular, although it was tremendously difficult for all of us. He was nine years my senior. I resembled him physically, and pretty much idolized him even though, or perhaps because, we were different in many ways.
Cliche it may be, but the fact is time does past faster as you get older. It does not seem possible that 2019 is almost gone. And to top it off, today is the 21st. Tomorrow will be the 56th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. I was seven, and as it happened I was home sick from school that day, and watching daytime TV— a novel enough experience on a weekday. And as it happened I was watching CBS. When Walter Cronkite came on and announced the horrific news, he began to weep. I will never forget that moment. I didn’t fully understand what had happened, but the next few days were very frightening. My mom was weeping, and dad seemed like he was in shock.
So I have to admit I’m not exactly thrilled that Thanksgiving is upon us. For almost 40 years it has been just Judi and me for Thanksgiving, anyway. We went to relatives’ houses a few times when we were new to Idaho, but it’s been 30 years, at least since we spent the holiday in the company of anyone but each other. Actually that was not true in 2006 and 2007, but those were horrible years for other reasons. This year will be no different from most of the 40 Thanksgivings that have preceded it. It’s been a number of years since we even bothered with a turkey.
Nevertheless, I have real blessings to count this year. I have enough to eat, and a roof over my head. I am doing a podcast which is very rewarding. Judi and I are together, however problematic our relationship. Last but certainly not least, we are both blessed to have the amazing tortie sisters in our lives. Holly and Ivy have been lifesavers for us in the past 11 months. So I will give thanks next Thursday. I will also remember Thanksgivings past, painful as some of them have been.