Friday, November 29, 2013

The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. One more day of thanks for all the good in the past year. Just one more day? Shouldn't I be thankful everyday?

Last year we celebrated Thanksgiving in the desert mountains of Picacho State Park. It was a wonderful time that was to be remembered as the start of a new tradition. You can read about it here  To my disappointment we were unable to continue the new tradition this year for a variety of reasons, but our time together was no less precious.

Since there was no camping this year, we opted to accept my brother's invitation to join with his family for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. But even still, Nichole and I wanted some way to make our family time special.  Early in the morning we decided to take the boys to a movie. They don't often get to go to a theater showing since movies are so expensive these days.

The hot ticket this year is the Hunger Games - Catching Fire. Its a good movie, but not to be seen without having watched the first one.  After the movie and a quick stop at home to gather a few things we headed north for dinner.  Fifteen minutes into our 1 hour drive we found ourselves stopped in traffic. I could immediately tell this was more than an holiday traffic jam; Something was wrong.

Resigned to an extended wait, I turned off the engine and we sat... and sat.  Many drivers became impatient and tried to exit the freeway by driving backwards down the shoulder. I cringed every time a car maneuvered to turn around or back up. Using the shoulder to drive against traffic or during an obvious emergency situation just isn't advisable. How else will the emergency crews get through?

Some at least had the good sense to turn their cars around and drove forward... the wrong way down the shoulder.  Including a Santa and his elves who should no longer be allowed to drive on roads. 

As if to prove my point, one hour into our wait, the bomb squad drove past us, along with one or two members who'd obviously been called out from their own family celebrations.

The boys were surprising well behaved and calm in spite of the time spent cooped up (if ever possible, don't get stuck with three boys of ADHD in a car on the road for 2.5 hours). In fact everyone was. Among the many people strolling through the freeway parking lot there were jokers of kinds. Cries, of "lets have a potluck" and "what did you bring?" rang out as we recognized we were all most likely on our way to dinner somewhere.

Traffic was finally freed to move 2.5 hours later, too late to make the 1 hour drive to brother's house so we headed home. Isaac was distraught that Thanksgiving was "ruined" until we reminded him that Thanksgiving was about us being thankful and spending good time together. I even suggested we have a Charlie Brown thanksgiving of leftover movie popcorn and toast.  He liked that idea until we remembered the boys were to spend the night at Auntie Lisa's.

When we arrived a Lisa's we discovered she and her sister Charlene were prepared for us all. We gathered in front of a movie and ate Cornish hen, potatoes and stuffing. Everyone needs an Auntie Lisa.

What I really want for "traditions" is for the boys to have good memories to carry to their own children. Maybe we didn't get to go camping this year, but it is definitely memorable. In the end, I did have a Thanksgiving feast with my family and look forward to next year's adventure (as well as any to be had in-between.)

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