Have you already decorated your Christmas tree(s)?
Not me. Pumpkins, fall leaves and acorns still adorn my fireplace mantels and front door.
This decorating delay doesn’t indicate inefficiency on my part — perish the thought! It does reflect autumn’s short season. Thanksgiving items are placed on clearance before kids trick-or-treat.
Given that many hate winter, why do we forget fall so fast? Why not linger in Thanksgiving Land?
It was wild and wonderful, wasn’t it?
Even if I had to shovel out spare rooms and wash sheets.
Even if wrestling the defiant turkey into the oven resembled a Friday Night SmackDown sans tights and sparkles.
Even if appliances didn’t feel blessed. Our disposal rebelled Thanksgiving morning. Worse, our oven adopted a relativistic philosophy, insisting if its controls read “350,” the actual 500-degree temperature was irrelevant.
Even if, having stocked up on dark meat because we ran out last year, I was asked if our turkey was a mutant. Ditto for yeast rolls that resembled trolls.
Even if drains and conversations occasionally clogged.
And I can’t pretend I have six months to Christmas shop. …
Still, with four generations feasting and sharing gratitude to God, our Thanksgiving was a blessed celebration.
Admittedly, the grandchildren’s sugar energy levels could have endangered not only our house, but the entire city block. Thankfully, we all defused at a large community room I’d rented.
No one sent the Monopoly game airborne when he landed on Boardwalk with hotels.
Everyone ate mutant turkey and rolls.
Not only was there enough pie for all 17 diners, plenty remained for Grandma and Grandpa’s post-host-survival celebration.
Despite that, I still can zip my jeans! — and ignore nasty online pop-ups advertising tent-sized attire for New Year’s Eve.
Bottom line: Our family arrived safely, rejoiced, loved, and gave thanks together, then returned home, grateful to again sleep in their own beds.
Can such a rich celebration be considered a mere practice run?
We can correct whatever went wrong at Thanksgiving to improve Christmas gatherings. Hosts can repair the carbonizing oven and replace air mattresses that flattened overnight. Hubby watched a YouTube video that helped him fix the disposal. I might even practice making rolls that look like … rolls.
Image by Richard Duijnstee from Pixabay.
Soon autumn decorations in our home will give way to poinsettias, evergreens and jingle bells. A Christmas tree will grace our living room window.
But thanksgiving won’t be packed away until next November.
I pray it saturates my Christmas season … and New Year’s … and Easter 2024 … and …
Image by Deborah Hudson from Pixabay.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What are your reasons for thanksgiving, even after Thanksgiving?
First, for all of you who require normalcy, I’ve recorded one everyday reason for thanksgiving: good weather. Here in Indiana, we expect winter, like an obnoxious relative, to blow in during November. Instead, sunshine, moderate temperatures, and glorious fall colors have prevailed. We Hoosiers are suspicious, but grateful.
Image by Leopictures from Pixabay.
Now begins the weird list. I am thankful for:
Tangerine peels whirring in my garbage disposal. The fragrance takes me to holidays past when my dad brought home boxes of tangerines.
Aisle signs in parking lots. I usually disregard them, but when I do memorize my car’s location and later find it, I experience a major rush.
Purple hand towels. They defy even grandchildren’s noblest efforts to stain them.
Piano tuners. My very bones scream when a piano tuner pounds and adjusts my keys. As tuners possess sensitive ears too, I salute their bravery in attacking enemy tones.
Nearly 340,000,000 Americans who prefer forks and spoons over sporks.
Television. Inevitably, some lunatic sports figure or pubescent program convinces me I’m actually rather sane.
Black olives, a time-honored family fetish. Children and grandchildren share my taste for them, though my son-in-law attempted to teach his toddler the little black things were bugs. Grandma’s DNA prevailed!
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.
Image by Milly from Pixabay.
Flo, the star of the insurance circuit. If she can wear 1960s eyeliner and blue eye shadow, maybe I will star on TV too!
Pennies. A fistful still conjures up a vestige of my childhood Richie Rich feeling when I exchanged pennies for a sucker-bubblegum-Pixie Stix feast.
Hundred-calorie bags of popcorn.
Big, ugly rubber boots, my best buddies whether mudding through gardens or wading through slop, politely called wintry mix.
Rear window heaters and wipers.
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.
Finally, I’m thankful for hours in the Atlanta airport, surrounded by 4.72 million other travelers. As I stood in a restroom line, a janitor took charge. When her superhuman ears detected a stall lock’s jiggle, she directed the next woman to it.
Insignificant? No. When 2.36 million women wait in line, two seconds apiece add up. This janitor’s heroics comprised the difference between making our flights and dying of old age in the airport.
Even better: she touched our shoulders and said warmly, “Blessings on you today, honey.”
A little weird.
But sometimes weird blessings are the best.
Image by Prawny from Pixabay.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What weird gratitude comes to your mind?
Many homeowners in my small town not only have caught up with fall, they can rock on porches or by fireplaces — depending on temperatures — until Thanksgiving.
Their scraggly flowers now nourish compost piles. These Fall Go-Getters ordered bulbs in July and have planted them in well-fertilized beds.
Why hurry them to the compost pile? They’re still blooming, aren’t they?
On a scale of one to five, they’ve earned a six.
My flowerbeds? Half-dead blooms huddle around my house — though the fake, sunflower-laden hat on our front door earns two points.
Super-organized souls not only keep up with the seasons, they forge ahead. By August, autumn wreaths adorned their doors. “Welcome, Fall!” signs, pumpkins and jewel-colored chrysanthemums decorated their porches by September 1. Six points.
One house boasted acres of inflatable skeletons and chain saw murderers. Must I give credit to these scary overachievers?
Sigh. They must have worked day and night. Six points.
However, I itched to inform those Halloween enthusiasts about my porch’s genuine spider webs, which stick to visitors when they enter. Now, that’s fall authenticity. Three points for me.
Image by M.H. from Pixabay.
Especially since cobwebs abound not only outside, but inside. Cleaning disturbs autumn’s ambience, so I avoid it. Two points for me.
I do envy self-starters their autumn interior décor (six points again). Fireplace mantels boast Hobby Lobby’s colorful leaves and fall flower arrangements, 50 percent off. Mine still features tulips — but peach-colored, like some fall leaves. Don’t they count for a half-point?
So far, Go-Getters have scored 24 points. Me? Seven-and-a-half.
Image by Katherine Gomez from Pixabay.
But, wait. There’s more!
Go-Getters’ freezers, defrosted last spring, abound with perfectly stacked storage containers of homegrown, self-picked produce labeled with contents, date and time processed.
Six points again.
However, homegrown and self-picked produce also abounds in my freezer. So, there!
But I must remove 10 sort-of-labeled, amoeba-shaped packages to find something unexpired for supper. Three points.
Fall Go-Getters: 30. Me: 10-and-a-half.
It’s only October. I’ll make a run between now and Thanksgiving.
Then Hubby peers outside. “Beautiful day. Want to go for a hike?”
Image by Jane Botova from Pixabay.
If I do, I’ll never catch up …
Light shimmers through oaks’ and maples’ leaves embroidered with scarlet, gold and russet. Crickets and cicadas sing an end-of-summer concert. Cornfields rustle a welcome: “Our Creator throws a great harvest party, doesn’t He!”
I’ve caught up with fall.
This Go-Slower earns nothing, but she’s just been given 100 points.
Image by James DeMers from Pixabay.Image by 10302144 from Pixabay.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you caught up with fall?
If nobody has wished you a Happy October, consider yourself greeted. Also, Happy Sun-Dried Tomatoes Month!
October’s traditional holidays — Columbus Day and Halloween — have come under fire. The Internet graciously supplies us with alternatives so we now can venerate dehydrated fruits? — vegetables? — this month.
Though shouldn’t we celebrate in July, when tomatoes become one in spirit with plump, red humans who also roast and wrinkle in blazing sunshine?
October is also Class Reunion Month. Has anybody ever held a class reunion in October?
In a related issue, October offers Be Bald and Free Day.
But wait just one politically correct moment. Does this imply people who are not bald can’t be free? Sorry, but I doubt this will fly as a holiday. Not even with Hallmark.
Neither do I celebrate Reptile Awareness Day (October 21). Are we supposed to kiss a crocodile? Snuggle with snakes? Once, a new home’s owner discovered the former one had bequeathed him a pet python who popped out of heating ducts to say hello.
I lived a half mile away. That’s as close to reptile awareness as I want to get.
I also suggest we remove the bad-mood stigma from my favorite month.
True, our stressed society could benefit from International Moment of Frustration Scream Day, releasing pent-up feelings toward TV political coverage and souped-up leaf blowers. Following up with National Kick Butt Day might, paradoxically, prove a bottomless delight.
But October has gone overboard with Cranky Coworkers Day (the 27th). It has even been chosen as National Sarcastic Awareness Month. Gre-e-eat. We’re supposed to cheer every 16-year-old who rolls her eyes? Maybe crown Miss Supreme Sarcasm?
We also are expected to choose a Menopause Queen to celebrate World Menopause Day today, October 18. Riding a parade float, she and her royal court might throw plates at cowering crowds while a band plays “We’re Having a Heat Wave” and drill teams fan each other with flags.
October used to be a nice, simple month.
I’d hoped November would improve the holiday outlook. But, no. November begins with Plan Your Epitaph Day (November 2). I see that on the 19th, we are to celebrate Have a Bad Day Day.
How about we skip ’em all?
Instead, let’s celebrate Thanksgiving every day!
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite way to celebrate October?
O Lord, all things pumpkin spice have disappeared from grocery shelves as if stolen during the night by elves! I’m almost down to my last bagel. But, OMG, if celebrating Your birth means switching to Christmas cookies, I think I can adjust.
O Lord, this Thanksgiving, we give special thanks that our family knows You through Jesus. How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! (Psalm 133:1)—OMG, even if that togetherness is expressed through breakneck air hockey, euchre, Ping-Pong, and tossing sponge burritos at our relatives.
Cousins. That says it all.
Grandpa was beter at this than he thought.
And you believed this was the safer option? Think again!