“I hope they do the traditional costumes.”

The old man seated to my right directed his comment to his daughter, who was seated on his left. He turned to face me and repeated his wish, adding, “I remember, from years ago, how beautiful the costumes were.”

When you are season subscribers to a regional theatre, as are MH and I, you get to know your row. I know which seats are held by fellow subscribers to the same first-Sunday-matinee-of-a-new-play’s-run, and which seats are not held by subscribers and are thus occupied by different people for every performance. The two seats next to “my” seat are open, and during last Sunday’s matinee showing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream they were occupied by a woman my age (I’m guessing) and her father.

The father was handsome and well-dressed, with a mostly full if thinning head of snow white hair.  His posture was slightly stooped; he moved with the cautious deliberateness of the declining elderly, and needed help getting in and out of his seat. He had clear, radiant blue-green eyes, a quick smile, and a mental sharpness that belied his physical frailty, as I discovered when we exchanged small talk before the show and during the intermission.[1]

His daughter had brought a quilted cushion with her, which she carefully arranged on the chair’s pad and back before helping her father lower himself into his seat. I was touched by her loving and lively attentiveness to him. Her eyes literally sparkled when she looked at him; she was on a date with her dad. I was happy to see the obvious delight they took in the play, and joined them in giving the cast a standing ovation. As I helped the father on with his coat and bid them both a wonderful evening, I managed to suppress the wistful tears that are freely flowing now, as I type this.

Oh, for one more date [2] with my dad, my beloved Chet the Jet.

Chester Bryan Parnell, August 8, 1924 – February 11, 2009.

Chet on “Stardust,” ca. July 1952. Picture taken by his soon-to-be-wife, Marion. Chet sold his beloved Palomino stallion to buy Marion’s engagement & wedding rings. He kept the saddle, and later sold it for $35 (to pay the rent on their apartment). My sisters and I ( ages ~ 3, 7, & 9) were aghast when we first heard this story: “You sold your horse? We could have had a horse?!?!”

 If you have an elderly parent or two still around, do me a favor. Help them on with their coat, next time you see them.  I don’t care if its 90º – make ’em put on the damn coat.

*   *   *

Reminds me of my favorite Boy Scout joke. Okay; it’s my only Boy Scout Joke.

Billy, to his to Scoutmaster:  “Sir, Bobby and I completed the final requirement for our Community Service merit badge.”

Scoutmaster:  “And what was that?”

Bobby: “We helped an old lady cross the street!”

Scoutmaster: “It took both of you to help an old lady cross the street?”

Billy: “Well, she didn’t want to go.”

*   *   *

Today’s blog title, yes.  I am not lamenting Thanksgiving, although it seems to be somewhat vogue to do so.  Perhaps if I wrote this entry after the event (which we are hosting) I’d be singing a different tune…but I doubt it.  We have a brilliant group of 10 friends who will be share the day with us, and they are all excellent and creative cooks and, most importantly, gracious and fun-loving. A special bonus in hosting our Swenadian[3] friends is that although they’ve lived here for many years, they have no expectations of What A Thanksgiving Meal Must Be, and so they take joy in the feast and are never disappointed that there ain’t no foo-foo marshmallow yam casserole (not at my table, no sireee Bob).  Plus, their two sons tell really good fart and penis jokes, which add that certain festive. je ne sai quois to any holiday gathering.

Belle and K got up early to run in the Oregon Zoo’s 4 Mile Turkey Trot with their father.  MH proudly and efficiently performed his Your Children Are Never Too Old To Be Embarrassed By Their Dad duty with the alacrity and accoutrements appropriate to the day. Read: he ran the race wearing a homemade turkey feather tutu and turkey goo-goo-eyes-and-beak cap. It’s amazing, what one man and a glue gun can accomplish.

Picture taken by K, who jumped at the chance not to be included

Aman’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do (half of K is captured on the right)

*   *   *

Leftover cranberry relish in the ‘frig and the pop-up, Plan Ladie’s Lefse Party [4] task reminder on my computer add to my anticipation of the upcoming holiday season.  Yes, we Freethinkin’ folk celebrate all kinds of festivities at this time of the year. Those questioning why will be subject to a lecture (see 11-2-12 post) on the secular origins of so-called religious holidays.  Be afraid; be very afraid.

In honor of the upcoming Solstice season I’ll share the following old gem.


Fruitcake for the Holidays:  A Special Recipe

one cup water
one cup sugar
four large eggs
two cups of dried fruit
one teaspoon baking soda
one teaspoon salt
one cup brown sugar
lemon juice
one bottle of whisky

Sample the whisky to check for quality.  Get a large mixing bowl.  Check whisky again – to be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.  Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.  Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again.

Make sure the whisky is still okay.  Cry another tup.  Turn off the mixer.  Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried furit.   Mix on the turner.  If the fried druit gets tuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whisky to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares?  Check the whisky.  Now sift the lemon juice and strain the nuts.  Add one table. Spoon.  Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find.

Grease the oven.  Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees.  Don’t Forget to beat off the turner.  Throw the bowl out of the window, check the whisky again and go to bed.

*   *   *

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

[1] I am not one of those people who talks during a play or movie (unless it’s to snort, “Yeah, like THAT’S gonna happen,” during a particularly ludicrous scenario).

[2] Truth be told, Chet would have fallen asleep at any date that involved a theatrical performance.

[3] a Canadian-Swede couple and their children.

[4] Yes, of course I’m going to write about that. Eventually.