Back in the early 1990’s, when I lived in south Florida, I wrote several dozen Op Ed type articles of various lengths for a local newspaper. Last night, for reasons unknown, I took a little walk down memory lane and re-read those articles. All of them, God help me.
Most of them were so-so, some were truly awful, and a handful were pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. At least half of them were extremely political and I am somewhat in awe of the woman who wrote them with no apparent fear of reprisal. There were even a couple that generated letters of thanks from various members of the community, which I had saved as well.
But all of the articles, good and bad, made me smile just a little. There is just something about the remembered feeling of seeing your name and picture in the local paper, accompanied by your very own words. It did make me wonder, though, whether in a dozen years I will look back on these blog entries and say: most of them were so-so, some were truly awful, and a handful were pretty damn good.
Since I’m currently suffering miserably from the feverish, aching, coughing, congested head cold from hell and feeling more than a little uninspired [read: lazy], here is one of the articles, published 12-4-93, that still makes me smile. I did not write the headline.
I should note that the then-teenaged daughter of the friend about whom I wrote was outraged by the article, and vehemently defended her mother’s culinary choices. Just so you know, I’ve already been raked over those coals. My dear friend, who also wore the hats of talented writer and merciless mentor, thought it was outrageously funny and told her daughter to lighten up. Even though we exchange cards and family news once a year, I miss her. And I think about her every Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving’s not the same without turkey
I have a friend who is a vegetarian, which was the cause of speculation this past week. What does she eat at Thanksgiving? No turkey means there’s no gravy and, therefore, not much point in mashed potatoes or dressing. What is left of the traditional feast? Rolls and cranberries?
I thought of her while making room in my fridge for my own turkey, which thawed as slowly as April snow in Minnesota.
And while I cleaned it, a process more difficult than bathing the dog.
And while explaining to my curious children its various internal parts.
And again, when I needed help removing the thing from my oven, as it weighed more than the combined birth weights of both my children.
And the next day, during painstaking hours spent removing leftover meat from the bones.
I thought of her all weekend, while eating countless turkey sandwiches, and found I had discovered two new reasons to give thanks.
First, that the pilgrims did not have a side of beef for their celebration. And second, for this one day, in spite of the mess, I am thankful that I am NOT a vegetarian. At least not yet.
Ok, I have to admit this is not a verbatim copy of what was published. I added back in five words that were deleted from the final copy due to word limit constraints. Hey, it’s my blog, I set the limits here. The article as posted above is 195 words. That’s hard to do. Don’t believe me? You try it. Really.
Write an article and post it in the comments, 200 words or less, telling me something about your Thanksgiving celebration — the best, the worst, the one you’re planning for this year. Who knows? In a dozen years or so, you might look back, read it and decide it was pretty damn good. Or it might just make you smile.
And no cheating. I will count.
Ahem. I heard that. I’ll have you know I am much more proficient at counting words than heads.