Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sweet Home, Chicago

Last year I missed the big family Thanksgiving in Phoenix for the first time in about twenty years.

This year the family moved the celebrating from the chill of Arizona to the temperate climes of the greater Chicagoland area to be with my Aunt Pat, because she hasn't been up to much traveling of late. Pat is the last sister of my grandmother's generation. There were originally five sisters and one brother and they had seventeen children amongst them and then that generation gave birth to my generation.

As anyone who has been reading this blog for a couple of years will know, we're a close family and our Thanksgiving dinners usually have tables set for between fifty and seventy five folks. We're lucky enough to all enjoy each other's company; seems it never matters who you find yourself standing next to, you're just happy they're there.

So, anyway. Chicago.

This is where we're from, the Mervis clan, but it's been a very long time since we celebrated here, so I've been looking forward to the trip for some time.

When I was a kid, we celebrated holidays, birthdays, weddings and pretty much every weekend together on the banks of Honey Lake in Barrington on what was left of my great grandfather's farm. We ate together, swam together, laughed together and all the rest of it. We were well fed and there were always candy bars and soda pop and caviar and little clab craws and if it seems like a dream, it probably was. But memory makes everything better than it was, even the bad stuff, and our collective memory wears the nicest pair of rose colored glasses you're likely to find. The farm's long gone and we've spread out across the country, but we like any excuse to get together and make new memories.

So, this year in Chicago.

Then, a few weeks shy of the holiday, Pat passed away, leaving us without a member of her generation for the first time in our lifetimes. And that puts an air of sadness over everything. But this group, tends to find joy in sadness and I guess the lives of those that have passed are all the more reason to cling together and keep on churning out the good times.

So this Thanksgiving is for Pat. And Joy and Pook and Jack and Merv and Tweet and Babe. And Carolyn and Peter. And Nana and Grandpa. And Carl and Norm and Buddy and Milt and the Judge.

And for all the younger folks and new members of the clan that didn't get to meet everybody, go make enough new good times for the future generations to talk about.

It's Thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for . . .


Blogger SchwartzNow said...

This moment was for the nieces and nephews, too. She...they...always, always. always asked about you. It was pure love. She...they...always, always were inspired by the next generations. By you. You are the flame, the warmth, the light that takes all of us on the next journeys. I know. They told me.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990)

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

I'm sorry to say so
But, sadly it's true
That bang-ups and hang-ups
Can happen to you.

On and on you will hike, And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life’s a great balancing act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

Will you succeed?
Yes you will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

11:20 PM  

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