by jkatejohnston

25 November 2016

Dear Max,

I couldn’t take Colin on my Thanksgiving picnic because it turned out to be a bike trip. (The buses don’t run on Thanksgiving, so Enzo and Teresa needed the car.) But other than no Colin, it was perfect: brilliantly sunny day, cold, fall color, new green grass coming up through brown leaves, and the river glinting here and there where the bike path gets close to it.

In this Diary of Record, I must include the food:

First course: grandma’s stuffed celery, Cambozola on a warm crusty end-piece of bread (I brought the whole loaf because it was still too hot to slice when I left the house), mango-flavored sparkling water, plus more cheese on those tiny chi-chi crackers from Trader Joe’s—pomegranate and pistachio crisps, I think they’re called.

Second course. Champagne (pink but not sweet), turkey sandwich (dark meat only, done in the slow cooker, much diminished by Pete’s counter-surfing predations), homemade cranberry sauce (indistinguishable from canned but still good), mayonnaise (natch) potato chips.

Dessert: Remove from picnic blanket to hammock, black coffee, macarons (apricot, salted caramel, coconut).

And the whole way through, Desolation Island from the sinking of the Waalkzaamheid all the way to the right true end, the escape of Louisa Wogan on the American whaler. When I closed the book, I felt like cheering.

Then it was time to go home, which now seemed very far away (in fact, about fifteen miles), and somehow all the stuff I’d brought had expanded, even though I’d eaten a lot of it. But I got it all packed up on the bike, and at least my route home was downstream this time, that is, a very slight down-hill grade most of the way.

A few times during the day, I tried to think thankful thoughts, but it didn’t take. I felt pious and affected. (Any time you decide what to think, aren’t you just being ridiculous?) My attempted-thankful thoughts always turned into something like: thank God I’m right about everything and here’s why, which was at least sincere.