Ah, well...so much has gone on and gone passing by that I don't know the worth in the retelling. But I have Pandora spitting out one slow song after another (simply ask for Allison Krauss and let it take it from there) and the holiday fugue running internally.
I'd taken the week prior off from work - well, tried to - but wound up working about 5 hrs a day anyway. It's a small office and my cohort was dealing with a very full plate already. And, no - we don't do temps. The office mgr is an accountant. A sweet and good man but he clings to each dime. So what I'd hoped to make into a decompression and a kind of "get off the ledge before someone gets hurt" intervention turned into more of an irritating standard work week with long lunches.
And each day I tried to remember: I have a job. It's a good job. I get paid well. Many would carve my liver out for the salary.
But there was still a knee on the ledge...and an email waiting for me this morning sent Thurday afternoon about flights needed for tonight. Seriously? We've a service for that - all happy to help and make that sweet holiday overtime. But no...and you know I didn't crack open that bitch over the weekend after they screwed my vacation. So...it's Southwest for you, Sirrah!
Wednesday afternoon found me kicking out a large assortment of pies, sides, and snacks. It was almost 1a before I laid down my head but it was done. I contributed the turkey, too, but went with the amazing smoked version from these guys - they deliver to the door all ready to eat. (Not a bad option, either, for a shut-in.) In the morning we loaded up the truck and headed east.
As I prepared it all I could almost feel Mom at my elbow, pressing for more nutmeg in that pie, more cinnamon and butter in the other...it was her shining moment, that holiday. We were poor as hell when I was young and I do not know how she managed to afford it each year. (And I still recall the year - had to be `75 - when the basket waited at the back door, as if the rapid knock itself had dropped it on the stoop. I was just a punk kid who didn't understand the importance - just wanting to get down the street to where the other punks waited, crunching that ice blue snow under shoes not suited to the weather. But her quaking, her anger, and dashed tears caught me up. "It's a gift, Mom. You can't be mad for a gift..." and I suppose it made her think of the kids rather than her pride. But I do not think another year found her unprepared after...
Each year as I do what I can to meet her expectations, I remember that brief snippet of time as well as all the other turkeys she nursed to golden perfection. It is because of her that I can cook as well as I do.
We hurried eastward for the festivities there, then back again for in-town final feastings with friends. Their youngest girl treated us all to her new act - the etrier that we'd given her hanging from the tree limb. Her brother loaded up a song on his phone and the gentlemen all took out their Streamlights to give proper circus lighting and mood...
Her fine limbs curled around the rope, her feet flinging out as she swung in the air. She would hold a pose, spinning like the ballerina in a girl's jewelry box. Then up and up she would climb, her upper body strength simply dumbfounding as she arced her legs up and over, only her tiny hands keeping her on the line, slowly turning. It was 3 minutes or more and we were all transfixed at her serious expressions, a posing - a sober mien that was not quite right on the youthful face. We all stood and applauded with sincere appreciation and joy. A giving of thanks, indeed, for those small graces.
Each year a friend who manages a hunting lease of great size culls the deer there the day after Thanksgiving. A cooler, he says - just get me a cooler and we'll fill it. It could have held a body. It returned to us last night full to the brim with boned, skinned, cleaned meat. Over 150 lbs of it, all free. Last year, we worked long hours to trim, sort and package the generous gift. This year, we took it to the local processor who gave us the friend price. In a few days we will fetch home a welcome bounty. In exchange, bread and cakes and cookie dough will wend their way through our small town to their door. An inequal exchange, certainly. But it pleases him, I think, to know that we appreciate it so much.
Sarge's big boss will host a meet and greet soon and I've got to get ready for it. Wardrobe choices, hair color or no, cut it or no, and other such foolishness to ensure I represent well for him. I want Sarge to be proud to escort me...of course, that assumes nothing comes up when they run me. Yes, no one gets an audience unless their record is perused. And I've been good a very long time. But one never knows what skeletons will spin up when deep waters are disturbed, eh? Heh...
It was so nice to deliver his guys some dinner Thursday evening. I packed them a generous plenty of leftovers which were devoured quickly, a few guys staying over past their shift having heard of the incoming delivery. He has high expectations but ensures they have what they need. He is cultivating a deep respect in their hearts...
And that has been the last few days lived in a rush...no time for updates, messages, blogging or chatting. Just one thing after another so that tonight I am letting it all go in the hope that rest will come. Tomorrow will be a busy day - so much to do...and window ledges whistling all aloof-like..