Mack Williams: A Williams Thanksgiving
I call this week’s column title: “A Williams Thanksgiving,” definitely not “The” Williams Thanksgiving, because I’m not so full of myself as to ignore the abundance of Williamses in the world, so many in their Welsh native land that it’s said if one opens a phone book there, the names “Williams, Evans, and Jones” are predominant.
There are many Williamses in Rowan County, of course, a Faith branch closely tied to me. One member united with the Vinson tree, producing “acorns.” Another by-product of this union: she improved her “alphabetical” standing, moving one letter’s distance away from alphabet’s end than she was before.
Back to Thanksgiving:
Daughter Rachel, son Jeremy, daughter-in-law Rose, mother-in-law Doris, family friend Debby, and I got together at Doris’ house for the great annual “avian” dinner. Some people say a wife’s death cancels out the “mother-in-law” relationship, but not really. We should strive to keep all relatives, blood or otherwise.
Jeremy cooked the turkey and Rose cooked pecan, apple, sweet potato pie, and dressing. Modern aspects of the meal were represented in the form of microwavable red potatoes and cranberry salad bought from Trader Joe’s by Rachel. Everything was delicious!
The previous paragraph was primarily “food prose!” I sometimes poke harmless fun at a northern piedmont column in which the writer often includes “good old foods” of the “good old days” when “Grandmaw” cooked. Regarding this, I tell Rachel and Jeremy that in my writing, I generally aim for something just a little bit deeper than “Grandmaw sure as H-ll could make some d-mn good pie!”( sometimes adding a “G” word into the mix, turning the little “d-mn” into a big one). I am basically a good person with a “wise-guy”(smart ass) nature which surfaces from time to time.
I stayed overnight in the spare back bedroom, where it seems Christmas, itself is stored, as there are always boxed Christmas decorations, Christmas-themed quilts in plastic storage bags, and large, empty, metal Christmas-themed, popcorn cans.
Christmas Eve has its “visionary” dreams of candy canes and dancing sugar plums, while Thanksgiving night has “memory” dreams of dressing, pies, and non-dancing turkey.
Before turning in, I looked in on Jeremy and his really nice fire going in the living room fireplace.He also opted for candlelight’s more “colonial” effect. Although the flame wasn’t “eternal,” there was an aura of cathedral sacredness where obeisance could be payed to flame as source of light and heat.
Before I dozed off, a square of light suddenly ascended and arced on the wall opposite the window adjacent my bed. It was a passing car’s headlights, the window’s frame acting as a wide-open, immovable iris and window pane acting as cornea.
Awaking around 3 a.m., I looked out the window and saw Jupiter looking down on me (but at its distance, Jupiter basically looks down on the earth’s entire night side).
The adjacent house had one window lit “cathode-gray” (either the TV’s color was washed out by the night or the neighbor was watching a “Turner Classic”). The shade of gray matched the sky’s shade,while everything solid outside looked a silhouetted, jet black.The similar “glow” of window and heavens made me think :”People throughout the universe are staying up late at night watching TV!”(in this case,”people” meaning intelligent beings everywhere, whether hominid or not. And “Late at night” meaning anytime, since in the universe, it is always “late at night”).
In the kitchen, the refrigerator was making a faint, “cicada-reminiscent” drone, but the objects of its “mimicry” had already been dispatched in death by cold nighttime temps.
My mother-in-law’s police scanner sounded from the den. It told of some family experiencing the arrival of very late Thanksgiving night “guests.” These “visitors,” neither relatives nor friends, were best described as “official” in nature.
Feeling chilly, I removed one of the Christmas quilts from its storage bag and spread it out over me (if before Thanksgiving, I, myself would have appeared to be as guilty as the stores for “jumping the gun” on the Christmas Season).
Beneath sheet, blanket, and quilt, I was a boy back in North Wilkesboro at Grandmother Williams’ (she made d-mn good pie too, especially rhubarb, and biscuits!).
So, this Thanksgiving night being a chilly one, Jeremy had thrown logs on in the fireplace to generate extra heat, and I had thrown on extra cover to keep the heat I already have (that most special kind, set at 98.6 F).
The best warmth, Seasonal or anytime, is the family kind, continuing long after fireplace embers have expired and THE BIRD’S cooked carcass has cooled (and been digested).