Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Holidays Begin...

Urkel looked at Zoger, the beasts were moving towards the trap set by the men of the clan earlier that morning. If this hunt were successful, they would have one more feast before the warm season came to an end. They would then work hard to preserve the meat and the hides for the coming winter, and they would have lots of ivory to carve and while away the days of snow and ice.

A long time ago, shortly after the glaciers had receded far into Canada and the last mammoth had been hunted down and killed, I worked in a small town about six miles to the west-southwest of my hometown.

It began as a summer job between my freshman and sophomore years in college, it became the first of the jobs I would have between departing Norwich University in the spring of 1972 and entering Colorado State University in the fall of 1983. Yup, an eleven year "break" between my first and second years of college. Which covered two civilian jobs and eight years in the Air Force.

But before I made the decision to not return to Norwich, I spent a summer at the National Survey in Chester, Vermont as a handyman/painter/garbageman/shipping specialist/landscaper. Landscaper means I cut the grass around the office building and at the homes of the three brothers who ran the place. Garbageman was every Monday, collecting the trash at the office building and at the homes of the three brothers who ran the place, and taking it to the local landfill.

I know, I know, fun times.

Google Maps Street View
The red square marks the site of the old location of the National Survey. (No, no, no, I didn't work in Red Square, just using that to mark the map. Geez, maybe I should have used a different color...) Now the red arrow in the preceding picture points to the location of the topic for today's post. In other words, what we did for Thanksgiving.

Last week (which began on the 19th of November) I was rather out of sorts. My post here, which Tuna felt he had triggered and which I assured him wasn't really the case, though his post here may have been the catalyst, but he's not to blame, I had all those emotional explosives laying around, wasn't really his fault that he lit the match which caused the loud boom in my head.


Okay, okay, okay, let's back up a bit. Like I said, the week of November 19th I was really bent out of shape over a number of things, little things really, but enough of them (mostly work-related which is a pretty good indicator of why the little voice inside my head screams, "Hey, numb-nuts, you should retire!") to cause me to go boom and realize that there is far too much negativity floating around the universe.

Okay, economic predictions never sit well with me. I remember the "crash" of I think 2008, might have been 2009, where the meejah were screaming that "things are going bad, save your money for the hard times ahead" and I could see no hard times. Business seemed good, we were busy, but the meejah kept screaming that the sky was falling. So, and this is just my observation, people stopped buying stuff, they stopped going out to eat and doing other leisurely things as "hard times are coming."

Well, guess what? If people stop buying stuff, businesses close, restaurants go out of business, people lose their jobs because of that, and voilà, suddenly times are hard indeed. Yes, I blame the herd panicking for that whole "crash." I might be wrong but when professional entrail readers, er, I mean economists, try to predict how people are going to behave, well, it sets me off ya know. Not Tuna's fault, I have never banned certain topics here at the Chant, and I was feeling rather obstreperous that week. Looking for a fight dontcha know. My bad, my apologies, mea culpa.


For Thanksgiving it had been decided by the clan up north that we would go out to eat. Something I really don't care for but understand that it's easier for those who actually have to organize and prepare Thanksgiving dinner (which I used to do on a small scale until the year I burned the mashed potatoes). I have oft been voluntold for the clean up afterwards, though not since The WSO and I spent one Christmas night doing the after Christmas Dinner cleanup with loud rock music blasting from the kitchen while The WSO and I sang along (quite badly mind you) and danced like crazy people who had somehow manage to get into the liquor cabinet (which indeed we had). So there are some in the clan who think that letting The WSO and Your Humble Scribe anywhere near the kitchen when there's booze on hand, and loud music as a possibility, is a bad idea.

A very bad idea. Perhaps they're right.


On Wednesday, the 21st of November, The Missus Herself and I loaded up The Missus-mobile and pointed the nose of the vehicle to the north, back to the home country and the tribesfolk who still dwell near the banks of the Connecticut River. (Which would be my Mom and my oldest kid brother, Ye Olde Vermonter, and his tribe.)

Within hours of our arrival at the dwelling of the matriarch, somehow politics came up. As my mother and I do not see eye to eye politically, the holiday nearly flew into a mountainside, killing all on board. That is until The Missus Herself told me to "calm the firetruck down" and I decided that my mom's views on things, in relation to mine, need not destroy the holiday season. She wouldn't budge, so I did. Essentially I "calmed the firetruck down." Eventually...

Crisis narrowly averted, and yes, The Missus Herself has commented, more than once, that I, "can be an asshole at times." Um, well, yes, yes I can. Though I try hard not to be. I tell you, last week was a bad one for me. But after a lot of porter and port on Thanksgiving Day itself, I felt much better. But I'm getting ahead of myself, a danger when I often have no idea where I'm going but "damn it, we're making good time."

So for dinner Friday night, Mom made a favorite dish of mine, meatloaf, and we avoided discussions of current affairs and we all had a good time, that night before Thanksgiving. Now Thanksgiving Day itself, while nice, was also bloody damned cold. I mean single-digit-and-dontcha-know-the-wind-is-blowing-as-well cold. Snow, did I mention that New Hampshire had snow? Lots of snow? Well, yes, yes, it did.

As we headed north (to back up a bit) we noticed that as we passed Worcester (pronounced "Wuster" as I am led to believe) we were seeing more and more snow. In the area of Winchendon, also in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we noticed that a lot of the white stuff was fresh, as in "it stopped snowing an hour before you got here" fresh.

So Thanksgiving Day, snowy and cold. Bitter cold what with the wind howling down from Canada, no, I'm not blaming the Canadians for the cold, well, okay I am, a little.

Eventually The Musician (my youngest kid brother) arrived from Somerville (also in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) Thursday morning and at a bit after 1300 local we set off for the location of our Thanksgiving feast. Depicted below...

Google Maps Street View
It's a nice old inn, The Fullerton. A nice roaring fire in the waiting area (contained in a fireplace mind you), with big soft sofas about, and a tidy dining room within which they had a table for ten set up for us, ready when we were. Now there was my Mom, The Missus Herself, City Girl, her beau Charlie, Charlie's mom, down from Maine those last three, The Young Vermonter, Ye Olde Vermonter, Missus Olde Vermonter, The Musician, and (of course) Your Humble Scribe.

The meal was nice - a choice of steak, ham, and turkey (yes, you could have all three - so I did), all the fixings you could imagine, and a dessert table stocked with pies for all tastes, chocolate mousse, multiple types of cookies, and dontcha know they had two fellows whose sole task was keeping that table full. Those guys were very busy, I had no small part in keeping them gainfully employed, I can tell you. We all had our fill, my end of the table also put a sizable dent in the inn's stock of Moscato and porter (the vino for the ladies, porter for the lads).

After heading back into the cold after a wondrous repast, it was back to Mom's for sitting about, reminiscing, drinking port (my brother had brought a bottle) for the lads, while the ladies tucked into another bottle of Moscato, which I had procured here in Little Rhody. We watched football of the professional variety, none of the games were competitive that I saw and the early game saw Big Time's Detroit Lions fall in defeat. I won't say more than this - Big Time also roots for Michigan. A bad football weekend for the lad from VFA-146.

As for myself, I had a delightful buzz by the end of the evening, I had partaken of rather too much port, but damme, I love the stuff. We awakened Friday morn, headed out to a local breakfast emporium and were on the road by 1100 local. Back in Little Rhody by 1430 local to spend a quiet weekend before returning to the lists yesterday. Oh, how little I care for Mondays after a long, long weekend. No doubt I shall like 'em a bit more when I finally listen to that little voice in my head.

Oh yeah, Valory, I winterized the pond on Saturday, the ice, while thick, was fragile. Temperatures were back in the 40s by Friday in the PM and Saturday was nice as well. See Sunday's post for the thickness of the ice. More on that later, no doubt. But I'm drifting into the "TL;DR" category on this post, so I'll leave you with the Chant's official welcome to the holiday season...

Be of good cheer my fellow Chanters!


  1. I watched the video; words escape me.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

  2. Good grief, the Fullerton Inn, shades of innkeeper Newhart! Great, now I've got that theme music running through my head........oh thank you Dropkick Murphys for displacing said music with traditional Christmas music (heh heh). Family get-togethers can sometimes result in profanit......arguemen.....opinion differenc.......clenched teeth smiles eh? That little voice in the head Sarge, will get louder over time, ask me how I know..... :)

  3. We are kin, I kinda wondered if we were. We went to grandma's (excuse me, Grandmother), like we usually did. It was an election year. All my kin were school teacher / professor types. They voted for Stalin, no matter who was running. Dad was an outspoken boat rocker, and pushed a gun for a living... Basically, riding herd on the folks that my kin expressed their love, devotion, and everybody else's hard earned money to. He voted for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    We had been visiting with cousins I never knew I had. Lots of wind and noise from the kitchen where the adults were. I recognized dad's voice, like when I ran over the water hose with the lawn mower.... When all at once, "We're going!!" All my kin, packed up and left. They lived close, so it wasn't a big deal. We drove four hours to get there. Dad couldn't shut it off. 40 some years of being the "blue collar brother" didn't keep him from airing his views on the world in general and some politicians in particular. It was great. 30 minutes to clear the house was a record. Just us and Grandmother... white carpets, white couch, sit here and don't move..... We went out in the back yard and threw grass burrs on each other for fun...

  4. Ah, the first playing of the Dropkick Murphy Christmas song! Brings a tear to me eye every time!

  5. Family gathering at any holiday is risky, at best, in our clan. We can’t discuss much without finding something to disagree about.
    It appears I am the odd man out.
    Sadly, I am the moderate one.

    1. Yes, as I get older I find that within the family, many things are off limits.

  6. The season is upon us indeed, even if there's still some turkey soup left in the fridge. I do enjoy that song and have it in my Christmas playlist on heavy rotation!

    1. Hahaha! Yeah, that song never gets old.

      No leftovers this year as we went out to eat. Then again, no clean up this year either!

  7. My condolences as to the loss of your holiday. It's hard to have fun when you have to shut your mouth. I spent 4 years in the SCA being quiet and meek because I could be on one side of the event site, in armor, smacking someone or getting smacked, and drop a truth bomb and in 2 minutes, 3 miles away, someone would say "Did you hear what Milady Andrew said?" Which kept derailing her arts career. So for 4 years I sucked it up and played the political spouse and when she got what she deserved I think my mouth went nuclear, especially after the celebration for her award where all her "Friends" didn't show up.

    As to family, well, Mrs. Andrew is nice enough to talk to my mom for an hour and allow me to say "I love you" and "I miss you" and some other nothingnesses so that I don't get stuck on the political/social guilt train and end up in a dark funk for days because my mom can worm bad thoughts into my head like a professional rock borer on meth drilling holes in rotten limestone.

    The last year (2017) she kept ranting about "TEH BADZ ORANGE MAN" and I held it for about 3 hours until I dumped both barrels on her. I think the temp dropped so quickly the very air molecules froze and crashed to the ground. I noticed pained looks in my eldest brother's eyes, because he had actually come in from his outdoor mancave/horsy house where he does all his smoking (meats), grilling, watching tv, avoiding my mother.

    It wasn't worth it to travel back and forth with the Beans Family Circus (insert circus theme music here) to the House of Dominican Republic Time (like Island Time, but worse. I love my DR SIL, but, dang it, she couldn't keep a time schedule if her life was at stake. She'll be 2 days late to her own funeral because her body will still be talking...)

    So, yes, I understand. Mrs. Andrew and I had a very nice Thanksgiving (we gave lots of thanks that we didn't have to deal with any relatives at all except for a phone call to MomGuilt) and tonight is the last leftover meal before the leftover meat gets chunked for pot-pies and I have to go back to actually cooking rather than reheating and plating.

    We managed to sleep with our window open, so we got the apartment down to 64 degrees, whoooo! High today will be 58 and low 32ish so window open yet again, Whoooo!

    Your inner voice, it is strong.

    As to the economic negativity, well, gee, if a certain party hadn't left big steaming piles of economic landmines that were timed to go off 10 years down the line... Like what we are about to run into economically as the last vestiges of Barky Moonbat's administration are set to go off, and people quit listening to the media crybabies, well...

    Go. Fly. Be free. Glad the pond got closed down easily.

    1. Actually the holiday was pretty good once I accepted the fact that I was not going to be listened to. I did mention the port didn't I? And the porter?

      I just need to remember to restrain my Viking instincts and play nice with others, The Missus Herself is my ambassador and she represents me well, covering most of my more egregious transgressions.

      Sigh, diplomacy, how do they do it?

    2. Being not able to partake of liquid support measures, I just tend to get into a low seeth which does nothing good to my digestive system.

      Glad TMH could run interference. It helps.

      And I don't know how they do it. But I am glad they do.

    3. Ditto on the don't know how, double ditto on the glad they do.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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