My brother and I would giggle about grandmas cooking. She is shrewd and successful, almost five feet tall, with a heavy Spanish accent..
Inevitably, my father would cut into her culinary creation and the knife would come to a grinding halt on the frozen center. Mom (also a very short Colombian) would suck in her lips and look away.
Being in the military, I made very little money as a brand new recruit.. Even the couple first years after I enlisted, money was scarce. The pay is fine for an 18 year old with no car, credit card or medical debt. But a 27 year old with ten years of adult life and a flattened business behind her, there is no room to move.
There were, of course the obligatory Thanksgiving meals the khaki club would host, but they seemed significantly more depressing to me than just having a quiet day to yourself. I often heard stories from the (mostly men) sadness over estranged or deceased families, divorce. This is an anniversary to give thanks in the face of lonliness and loss.
I’ve excused myself from this mandatory fun in the past lying to peers about having family obligations (couldn’t afford to get home) or didn’t have the time off to go so far away and just disappear. I would go for a hike, down to the beach, up the mountain… Wherever. Wait for the bars to open.
Recently, (my favorite) alone Turkey Day, I drove myself to Tecopa Hot Srings in my camper. I stay at the North end of town in a small RV park. Delite Hot Spring resort. It seemed like there was a fair mix of singles and families, mostly older folks gathered for the occasion.
It was simple and very relaxing. I had both my sweet Aussies at the time, Scout and Bogey. This desert is still largely undeveloped and absent many of the strict rules necessitated by higher populations. The dogs run free when I open the door, it is quiet.. Almost silent out. There are no highways and the purpose of coming here is to relax. Parties are low key and small, the tubs are kept immaculately clean… They are about three feet deep and filled with crystal clear steadily running mineral water. Between 101 and 104. It feels delightful on my skin and soaks deep into my muscles, bones… my thoughts.
This year, I had other plans until yesterday…. alone. I had no one to watch my dog. I finally found a home for Scout. He has been a good and faithful companion for eight years now, but traveling full time has been a great strain on the both of us. He’s now living in Gila Bend, Arizona with the husband and wife team that are taking care of Auggies Quail Trail RV park. He’s a perfect fit… an energetic and welcome greeting machine for the friendly campers.
I am intensely grateful to the families that have hosted Thanksgivings past, dear friends and new, a Mexican Thanksgiving in San Diego with a beautiful, close family, (a very memorable favorite). My chosen family in Denver, successful, creative, driven. They are the warmth of my life. It is where I am headed now.