Monday, November 26, 2007

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Break

Being a long and somewhat boring attempt at a timely blog post.

By Michael Edward Mitchell, Age 43

Last Wednesday was pretty uneventful at work. With most folks in the building off, it seemed like it was a nice, quiet day. I only learned later that appearances can be deceiving.

Our regularly scheduled payday would have been Friday, when everyone is off. So, we got paid yesterday instead, but with actual checks instead of pay advices—no direct deposit. I went to the bank at lunch and put my check in and got out enough cash for the weekend.

Keith was off all last week, so he picked me up after work. We celebrated the holiday eve by going to Shoney’s for the breakfast bar, where we also finalized our plans for the next day.

We were invited to go to my mother’s house for Thanksgiving, so we stopped at the grocery to pick up the ingredients for the dishes we were bringing. My mom had also advised us to bring whatever beverages we might want, so we got some store-brand diet cola with lime. As an impulse, I grabbed a cheap bouquet of flowers to take as well.

Thursday, I got up very early to fix our corn and pepper surprise, which was the side dish I volunteered to bring. Since I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie, I also whipped up a honey bun cake as a desert alternative.

Then I got ready to do my traditional volunteer stint. Our agency operates the Meals on Wheels program for our area, and every Thanksgiving, they do a special meal delivery. For the past several years, I’ve volunteered to help out at their “command central”—getting the meals and the delivery routes together for the delivery volunteers to come pick up.

This year, the program manager asked me to also ride along with one of the delivery folks and take some pictures for them. Since she lives two streets over from me, she offered to pick me up in the morning. I got everything for our trip finished up and loaded in the car, then woke Keith up. The plan was for him to pick me up at command central after the deliveries were done. Then we’d head south to my mother’s.

I was ready at 8:40, and sat down to wait for my ride. At 9:15, I decided something was wrong, since she’s not one to be that late without calling first. I called her house and found out from her brother that she had fallen and broken her arm at the office Wednesday afternoon and would not be going to the meal delivery. Guess it wasn’t such a quiet day at the office on Wednesday after all! I was a little perturbed that this had taken place right down the hall from me, and no one had bothered to say anything about it. Even worse, I was completely oblivious to the whole thing.

So it was time for Plan B. Keith dropped me off at command central, where I discovered that two of the workers had been dispatched to pick me up. They showed back up a few minutes after I got there. Turns out they had gone to the wrong street looking for our house.

After that kind of rough start, the meal pick up went really smoothly. It was about 11 when the person I was going to ride with showed up to pick up the meals she was delivering. After we got out to the area she was delivering in, I realized that we were almost to the southwestern edge of the county—practically halfway to my mother’s house!

We delivered the meals, and I took some pictures of some very appreciative senior citizens. It was hard not to feel awkward and intrusive about doing it, but the meal recipients were all very gracious about it.

After the last delivery, I called Keith and told him where I was and told him to head on down the highway. I figured if he grabbed me where I was, then I wouldn’t be making half the trip twice! I convinced the delivery volunteers (a former co-worker and good friend) to drop me off at an open McDonalds. A little while later, Keith picked me up and we were off!

We had forgotten to put the flowers in the car, so we stopped at a roadside vendor and got another bunch. I wanted a more interesting drive, so we eschewed the interstate for the cross-country route. Several little towns and state roads later, we were pulling up into my mom’s.

She had fixed Morningstar Farms vegetarian chix patties for us, but otherwise we had the traditional meal. She also left the meat seasonings out of most of the dishes, so we could eat them as well. And it was a grand feast!

We stayed and talked for a few hours after the meal. Mom showed me some new stuff in her backyard, and we played with her dogs. When it started getting close to dark, we left.

I was so tired that I pretty much crashed out as soon as we got home. Had to get some rest before the big Black Friday extravaganza!

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