Man, it feels like I’ve been away forever. I’ve dropped a review here and there in the last week or so, but other than that I’ve been silent. I took all of last week off. It’s something I’ve done for the last four years, and hopefully I’ll continue to do until I retire or I drop dead(hopefully retirement comes first.)

Everyone gets all excited for Christmas, and if you’re a little kid or believe everything you read then I suppose I understand that. I like snow and eggnog. I certainly enjoy It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and Elf. And who doesn’t love Christmas cookies? Show me the palooka that doesn’t like Christmas cookies and I’ll show you a person blackened and charred on the inside. But for those of us that aren’t all up in that religion thing, well Christmas can be a trying time. I sorta feel like a hypocrite at Christmas time, if I’m being honest. Sure, you can say it’s a time to celebrate family and friends. But if Jesus isn’t included on the Christmas card sending list, then you’re either in it for the gifts or for your kids. Cause you see I may be an unbeliever, but I’m not gonna be that heartless bastard that takes away my children’s chance at finding out that religion is a sham. No sir, my parents left it up to me to figure out on my own. I’m doing the same for my own.

So you see, Thanksgiving is that time of year that I feel that twinge of spiritual cheer(you can indeed be spiritual and not religious.) I’m not eating turkey to honor anybody’s only begotten Son. I’m eating turkey to honor those in my life right now. Those that mean the most to me. I’ll mash some potatoes, bake some pies and rolls, whip up some green bean casserole, and light some candles so as to make a warm and cozy spot for my loved ones to get together, laugh, have a few cocktails, eat way too much, then a half hour later force a slice of pie in our guts. This final Thursday in November is indeed the best Thursday of the year. Even as a youngster with a bizarre bowl haircut Thanksgiving always held a special place for me. It was the one day of the year that I would possibly get to see my dad’s parents and my mom’s mom and stepdad, sitting around the kitchen table at the same time drinking a Canadian Mist on ice and chainsmoking More cigarettes. The laughing was a-plenty, as was the food. My grandma Ruthie’s pumpkin and pecan pies were what I looked forward to the most. She could make a pie like no other grandma. My grandma Hubner would bring this concoction called heavenly hash. I think my dad and I were the only ones that liked it, but that’s all that mattered. Some strange mix of whipped topping, pineapple, rice, and maybe marshmallows; it was like a cloud of decadence in my bowl. Christmases when I was kid were always loud and manic, with so many aunts, uncles, cousins, step-siblings and their strange brood, but Thanksgiving was about never having to put on your shoes. It was about people(just a few) coming over and relaxing for a few hours, getting a little lit, and eating some grub. If we were lucky, maybe a game of Uno or Yahtzee after everything was cleaned up. Grandpas usually had a cup of coffee or two with their pie, a football game was watched(I snuck to my room and played with Star Wars action figures), and by 9pm catatonia would set in, or we’d go for another round of food(pie.)

This year I kept that tradition alive in my home yet again. My parents, my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and an old family friend, as well as my own crazy brood dined on good bird, good sides, and great pie. We talked, we laughed, I even sliced my finger open on a lousy can of cranberry jelly. Afterwards, when everyone went home the family and I laid around the living room watching movies and just enjoyed the stillness. We let the day soak in and the night blanket us. Our home was full on Thanksgiving, both with the living we love and the spirits of those we still love but aren’t here anymore. I could hear my grandma Ruthie in my mom’s laugh, and I could see my Grandpa Hubner in my dad’s smirk.

That’s as spiritual as I get. I don’t need the Holy Spirit to show me salvation. Salvation is in a belly laugh. It’s in a hug hello, and a hug goodbye. Something to be thankful for.

 

 

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Artwork and sentiment by Owen C. Hubner

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