Tag Archives: family

Yes, We Gave Thanks

My family
My family

It seems almost strange to not post something the evening of Thanksgiving, so here I sit, my head swirling and more than a bit tired, writing.

I know there are a lot of families do the whole thing where they go around the table, inflicting on their small children (and the rest of the family) the requirement that they extol what they’re thankful for.  In reality, you usually hear “for good, and pie and my brother and sisters and . . . ” you get the point.  I know this because my mother-in-law used to do this to us every year and Abbi, Hannah, and even my wife, her daughter, used to sit with that giggling nervous laugh unsure what to say.  It was the same every year.

Don’t get me wrong, for most people this is perfectly normal, it’s a great thing, some even have amazing, philosophical, wondrous things to describe.  I’ve spoken with some people who talk about their lives and what they’ve lost and how they’re so happy and it’s like Shakespeare and Mark Twain got together and wrote an American oratory.

I’m not that guy.

So instead of inflicting that on my kids we just decided to have dinner.

This was the first year where, after losing my wife/their mother and going from a 6-person household (two girls, twin boys) to a 5-person household…my oldest was in college all Fall.  We were suddenly 4 people.  To have Abbi, my oldest daughter, back in the home was just plain happy.
“I thought it would be strange coming home after all these months like it would be uncomfortable,” she said this morning.  “It’s not, it’s just . . . ”
“Home,” I finished.  That’s right, I made the cheesy cliche’d comment.  I won’t apologize.

You have to understand . . . that’s become so much more true for all of us.  It sounds like a Hallmark card or the not-so-subtle lesson from a Lifetime movie, but the reality is wherever we are it’s home.  I woke up really early after a full night last night.  I had already cooked 3 pies . . . I made a family recipe that’s like Chex mix, too.  In the morning I made my mother’s bread dressing and seasoned and put the turkey in the roaster.  By the time Abbi and Hannah, my two girls, had awakened the house smelled like Thanksgiving.

That, you see, was my goal.

When I grew up, whether we ate at my home or my Grandma Lanone’s, the house smelled like Thanksgiving.  There was a mixture of garlic, rosemary, turkey, cinnamon, cloves, pecans, potatoes, sweet potatoes . . . just cooking.  It wasn’t the labor it was the fact that it didn’t feel like labor.  I’m sitting here, tonight, exhausted from cooking literally all day . . . and I don’t care.  Really don’t.

You see, we’re home.  Yes, we’re still, 3 Thanksgivings later, a member short of our 6, but that didn’t factor in.  Sure, Andrea, their Mom, came up during the day.  But the reality was this isn’t a day where the cooking was what is missing.  Andrea was the decorator, the staging person, the social butterfly.  Family wasn’t near – not extended family – so that wasn’t going to be necessary.

No, seeing Abbi so happy to be home, her brother Sam attached to her side all night while we watched the awful movie “The Wolverine” and her other brother, Noah, walking up and hugging her all night made me smile.  Hannah so excited she was talking so fast she was near unintelligible was enough to know how happy she was.  I was just happy to have them all under the same roof again.  Doesn’t matter where it is.

2013-11-29 07.30.19To give you an idea of my family – my own, me, four kids – when you walk into our home the thing that greets you first is our wall of crazy animation.  There’s a Charles Schulz etching that has Schroeder playing the piano while Snoopy listens – animation and music, obviously; there’s a print by an artist recommended by one of my dearest of friends by “The Black Eyed Guy” of a book called the Owl Whooo Knew; then there’s an original animation cell – one of the actual ones used to make 1/24th of a second of a cartoon on the wall.

That mishmash of stuff is our family.  Multiple interests, multiple thoughts, craziness running around in an organized chaos.

But at the end of the day, all of them are under one roof, together.  That makes it home.  That’s really what we should be Thankful for.

And I truly am.

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THIS is our family

My daughter posted this photo of all of us
It’s amazing what a single photo can show.  It’s not like video, it’s very much a different form and medium altogether.

I have worked in both mediums, by the way, using still and video.  To shoot a news story or a documentary, or even a film you use the pictures and sound to tell your story.  You capture a series of events that tie together into a story.  You’ll show someone running down the hallway toward a door then move to a shot of the door handle where the hand grabs and turns then cut to a shot of the opposite side of the door and the person runs through.

A still captures a moment in time but in essence tells the entire story in one frame.  The best still photographers that I’ve known can do this and make it look like no effort whatsoever.  My daughter posted the above photo to my Facebook page because, in her words, “our family in a nutshell.”

It’s true, too.  Hannah, the wild, carefree, could almost care less kind of girl and very silly on the left.  Abbi on my right, smiling and happy.  Noah, probably not knowing what’s going on and sulking.  Sam, just happy and carefree.

It’s an old photo, too, from years ago.  It’s almost prophetic in a way because we aren’t really much different.  Noah has had his behavioral issues.  Sam is . . . well, Sam.  Hannah has had her carefree-life become more care-less life.  Abbi . . . well, I watch her go to college in just another year.  We’re on our way to New York this weekend just to see if she likes the school there.

So what makes this such a great shot?  It’s that captured moment.  I don’t even remember when this was taken but it’s obvious that we’re all acting the way we do today.  Even after losing what we have, it’s nice to know that we’re not really all that different than we’ve always been.

We’re stronger together than when we’re apart.

 

Andrea’s Airplane Music . . .

I had mentioned an old mix tape before thought it might be fun to list the tracks for you. Some are as subtle as a 2×4 and others…well I don’t know what my mind was thinking 20 years ago.

Rush : Dreamline
Stevie Ray Vaughan: Couldn’t Stand the Weather
ERic Clapton: After Midnight
Steve Winwood: One and Only Man
ERic Clapton: Forever Man
Doobie Brothers: Dangerous
ZZ Top: La Grange
Eagles: Victim of Love
Joe Walsh: All of a Sudden
Led Zeppelin: Ten Years Gone
Pink Floyd: On the Turning Away

Side 2
John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers: Made Me Wanna Go
Allman Brothers: One Way Out
The Who: Magic Bus
Robert Cray and the Memphis Horns: Consequences
STevie Ray Vaughan: Tightrope
Vaughan Brothers: Telephone Song
Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same
ZZ Top: waiting for the bus/Jesus just left Chicago
Eric Clapton: just like a prisoner/behind the sun

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