Thanksgiving sent us all into a funk, although I didn’t realize it until last night and there were other things, as always.
The transition in our tradition was sudden; Beth was away at school, and her grandparents, for that reason and just a disinclination to travel anymore, have been AWOL from our table for six years now. So it became just the three of us, sometimes a fourth. Last year, though, we were brightened by Beth, home on a whim and to see a sober daddy, who was also in a sling at the time. We had a great time, making one-handed pies (me) late on Wednesday, and then the girls in the kitchen all morning while I tried to stay out of the way.
So this was a shock, and different, and while we had a nice meal at a friends’ house (and no dishes to clean, or at least we didn’t offer), I know now I should have gotten up early, lit a fire and turned on a football game, something. As it was, Julie took a nap, John played a game, I went for a walk, and the day was done, poof, as if it never really happened.
And I hurt my ankle (walking 10 miles a day? You think?), curious and annoying. As a doctor once wrote, the secret that they and their wives know is that most things get better by themselves, and most things will actually be better by morning. This was my philosophy, anyway, so I continued to walk, limping a little, and sure enough it got better every day, although it still swells and stiffens when I stay still.
Don’t stay still, then.
We did hear from Beth, her first real solo Thanksgiving, her first in Boston, a marathon of cooking. Things went well, including Dad’s Super-Secret Turkey Roasting Trick, which involves basting, as you can see.
So she survived, obviously, and I guess we survived.
Rosie did not.
Cameron and Beth lost their lady on Friday, in a rush of horror and blood and a late-night race to the vet, not unexpected but too soon and too hard, always. I never met this graceful creature but Julie and John did and I felt her, across the country, felt her there and felt her go, and we grieve with them.
I had to learn had to not stay still, at an advanced age, how to keep moving and see each morning as a daily reprieve, how to find hope in sunrises and movement in grief. Others do it more naturally, but we all end up just walking. My daughter has a handle on this; my son, too, in his way. I, as I said, am still learning.
One of the things I’ve learned, by the way, is why I walk. All this talk and blogging about the scale, about watching my weight, about numbers and days, was not the point, although it took me a while to figure it out. Thanks to Meg and some others for helping me understand.
It was an easy call, of course. Overweight? Lose it, good idea, a no-brainer. But that wasn’t it, and it wasn’t about fitting into old jeans or preening or surprising my doctor or wooing my wife, all good things but not all that important.
I found out why on Wednesday, when that damn ankle was hurting like hell, when I’d done four miles and was on the last leg, uphill toward home, gritting my teeth and wondering, and finding out then.
I spent a relaxing spring and summer, and then as I reached one year without a drink I started to move again; I registered for classes, I started thinking out loud, I started looking.
And I looked at myself, and I saw 70 pounds that needed to go, and I knew that it would be hard to do.
I wanted to do something hard.
I won’t let Christmas slide by. We’ll get the tree up, and the fires lit, and the songs going. We’ll keep it this year, I promise, even if it’s just the three of us. The three of us have done some amazing things together.
And I’ll keep walking, around the lake, morning and evening, ankle and all, because it’s hard sometimes. Besides, I like the fresh air, the Christmas lights are out, there’s actually a hint of snow in the air, and the dogs I meet along the way all seem more precious now, somehow.