Thursday, November 22, 2018

We Gather Together

Kicked off a sunny, windy Thanksgiving morning with some holiday reading. The Harvest of Holidays anthology has a story on the first Thanksgiving, plus two holiday poems and "Over the River and Through the Woods."

The Disney anthology Storybookland features a short tale called "Pilgrim's Party." They Disney gang head to New England to celebrate Thanksgiving the old-fashioned way with the pilgrims and Indians at Plymouth. It's all fun and pilgrim cosplay...until Pluto steals the turkey! "Johnny Appleseed" is a retelling of the American folk tale of the young man who went west to plant apple trees, and how he made friends animal and human along the way.

Kit Kitteredge is having a less pleasant Thanksgiving in the last two chapters of Kit Learns a Lesson. Kit and her best friends Ruthie and Sterling are charged with taking the food from their class charity drive to a soup kitchen. Kit gets a nasty surprise there when she gives out food...and learns what it means to be truly thankful.

Spent most of the morning watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, including during breakfast. The CBS broadcast was streaming on YouTube. I missed the Broadway performances, but I did get to see all kinds of nifty balloons. My favorite by far was the utterly adorable Pikachu holding a snow-Pokemon! Other cool balloons included Goku from the much-loved Dragon Ball anime franchise (they had a hard time controlling him in the wind), the Grinch and Max the dog, Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid (my nephew Skylar would have loved that one - he used to read the books), the Pillsbury Dough Boy, the Trolls, and the too-cute small cloud and rainbow.

(I did try to watch the NBC broadcast, but it turns out that you need cable to stream their live feed. And ABC was only running a "fan cam" online of the Philadelphia parade.)

Called Mom while the parade was running. I wanted to catch her before my sisters arrived. She was just about to vacuum. She told me "Happy Thanksgiving!" and that she would miss me and Keefe, who couldn't make it from Virginia, either. They were eating much earlier than usual, around 2. Rose and Craig wanted to get home before dark.

Squeezed some writing in during the parade. Sheev Palpatine Marley is quick to praise Anakin...and even quicker to point out that Yoda and Mace Windu keep insisting that he's not ready to be a full partner yet. Marley will make him a partner in his new firm, if he does what he's told. Anakin's not sure he wants to change jobs...until Padme tells him he's going to be a father very soon.

Switched to cartoons while having a quick Banana-Cranberry Smoothie and gingerbread for lunch. Garfield's Thanksgiving isn't going much better than Kit's. Not only does Liz the Veterinarian put him on a diet the day before the holiday, but Jon invites her over for dinner! Trouble is, he's never cooked a turkey in his life. Good thing Grandma Arbuckle from the Christmas special knows what to do.

Ran into trouble while making the Cranberry Bread. The plug on the food processor had gotten so corroded, I couldn't use it anymore. I tried to chop the berries in the blender, but they got caught on the blade and it wouldn't chop all of them. I had to chop half by hand and made a mess.

Did the Peanuts specials while dealing with the bread. It's A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving when Peppermint Patty invites herself, Marcie, and Franklin over for the big dinner. Problem is, Chuck is going over to his grandmother's house for dinner. He, Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock make a meal of toast, ice cream, jelly beans, and pretzels to appease them. Peppermint Patty is angry, until Linus and Marcie remind their friends of the real reason for the holiday.

Charles Schultz went further into the real reason for the holiday in "The Mayflower Voyagers," an episode of the miniseries This Is America, Charlie Brown. The Peanuts and Snoopy and Woodstock play Pilgrim children and pets on their way to the New World. Even once they make it off the Mayflower, they face a terrible winter with little food and many people dying. Friendly Indians, including English-speaking Squanto and Massasoit, help them survive. They hold a great feast of Thanksgiving in honor of a bountiful harvest and their new friends.

Moved on to Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving after the bread was in the oven. This is another anthology, this time of three stories with mild seasonal themes. The first one has everyone dressing Piglet as a groundhog to find out if it's spring yet. The second story is the Thanksgiving special. Rabbit insists on having everyone gather ingredients for a "traditional" holiday. When his party goes wrong, it's Pooh who reminds them that they still have many things to be thankful for. Rabbit is also a big part of the third story. He adopts a baby bird named Kessie, but has a hard time letting her go south for the winter.

Did something I haven't done in a long time while Pooh was on. I took photos of my dolls, arranging them to look like they were doing Thanksgiving activities. Samantha "read" Cranberry Thanksgiving to my stuffed Max and Ruby. Rey and Luke had a Thanksgiving Day lightsaber tournament, while Poe and Finn cheered them on. Han decides to teach Felicity, Whitney, and Josefina how to play football the Corellian way, but falls over. Leia's the one who really shows them how to play.

Ran Molly's Pilgrim while the bread cooled. In this Oscar-winning live-action short from 1985, Molly is a little Russian Jewish girl who is having a hard time adapting to her new life in the US. Her clothes are old-fashioned, she's still learning English, her lunch is borscht rather than peanut butter and jelly, and she's much better at gymnastics than the other kids. Most of the girls in the class make fun of her. When she asks her mother to help her make a pilgrim for a class project, she makes one who looks like them, rather than the traditional Puritan. The kids are puzzled, until their teacher explains that Molly's family came to the US for religious freedom, which makes them pilgrims, too.

Put on two quick Disney shorts while I wrapped up the bread and got ready to go. Mickey is "The Grocery Boy" who brings Minnie her fixings for a big meal. Once again, Pluto snatches the turkey, leading the two mice to chase after him and their dinner. Mickey and Pluto's relationship is also at the heart of "Mickey's Good Deed." A poor Mickey during the Great Depression gives up the one thing that means the most to him to help  family that has even less than he does.

(Incidentally, while the bread came out brown and fell apart when I pulled it out, it at least looked like it was edible.)

Headed out to Dad and Jodie's around quarter of 4. It was such a nice day, I decided to walk there. Though it was bitterly cold, no more than the lower 30's, the wind had diminished somewhat since the morning, and it remained sunny and bright. The cold temperatures kept most people indoors, though I did see two guys chatting on a porch. Jesse, Jodie's younger son, saw me walking and ended up driving me the remaining two blocks.

I was the first one there. By the time we ate at 5:30, the house was packed. I didn't know most of the people there. It was mostly relatives of Dana's or Jodie's. The only people I knew (besides Jesse, Dana, Dad, and Jodie) were Jodie's Aunt Colleen, Vanessa, Jodie's parents, Jessa, Joe, and someone's girlfriend who used to work at the Acme and remembered seeing me around. There were so many people, we needed four tables set up in the den to hold them all. Dana and Jesse had been apparently tasked with setting the tables earlier. They used fancy white and pale blue tablecloths. Jesse even folded the napkins into fans.

I'd never seen so much food! The appetizers alone included mango brie, Irish cheddar, pepperoni, pepper jack cheese, Ritz and Triscuit crackers, garlic hummus, port wine cheese, olives, and extremely spicy pickles. When we all finally sat down, we passed around turkey, collard greens, asparagus with bacon, spoon bread, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, rolls (that got burnt), and cole slaw. In addition to my cranberry bread, dessert included date-nut bread, super-soft sandwich cookies, chocolate chip cookies, stewed apples, pound cake, and pumpkin and apple pies.

Football played in the background for most of the night. The Redskins tried hard, but they just couldn't out-run the Cowgirls. In the end, Dallas beat them 31-23. (The Lions didn't do much better against the Chicago Bears earlier in the day, losing 23-16.)

Jessa and Joe drove Vanessa and me home. I put on the How to Train Your Dragon holiday special Gift of the Night Fury while getting organized. The Viking citizens of Berk are preparing to celebrate their big winter holiday Snoggletog when all their dragons fly off without warning. While Hiccup tries to figure out where they went to, Astrid and the other kids create new traditions to make their holidays merrier.

Finished the night with By the Light of the Silvery Moon while online. The sequel to On Moonlight Bay has a prominent Thanksgiving sequence, which is why I wanted to review the series this week. I discuss it further at my Musical Dreams Reviews blog:

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

And here's hoping that all of you had an equally merry and full Thanksgiving!

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