Sunday, October 5, 2008


November is my favorite month of all, Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I muddle through October. October is when I first encountered the teacher. October was also the final "IT" with Daniel, the priest. The colors and smells are quite provoking. October is also the month my Dad died, October 22nd to be exact. It is 25 years this year - a very odd and distant, yet 'only yesterday' marker. My Mom 'sees' him and 'talks' to him on a regular basis. I love her stories of such meetings. I hang on every word. He has visited her while she was hanging clothes on the line. He wrapped his arms around her and whispered, "Don't cry, I can't stay long". She has felt him in their bed, full form, lying next to her, his breath on her neck. He told her it takes three days to get to heaven and that everyone has their own room and an assigned job. He said his room is next to a room in waiting for her and that his job is building bridges. It seems there is a fine and cross-able line between 'here' and there' and my Dad crosses over often. For those of you who believe, this is comforting. For those of you who don't, - this is all hooey and I imagine disturbing.
I love ominous days with dark clouds and crisp air while the wind forces leaves to scatter and fall. I enjoy wearing jean jackets and thick socks with boots and bulky sweaters with sleeves long enough to hide my hands. When my long dark wavy hair gets tussled in a breeze I am empowered as I lift my head to experience the full impact. Once the leaves have all fallen and the trees are bare I am completely at peace. I purchase gourds and pumpkins and burn candles with spiced scents such as cinnamon, ginger, maple, clove, apple and pumpkin. Coffee tastes better sipped slowly while out on our deck, seeing my breath and steam from my cup as I take in the calm mystery of November.
November is the month I write my "Why I am Thankful For You Letters". I have been writing these for over 10 years. My Mom has every one I wrote about her neatly tucked in her very worn and very old Bible. I write a letter to everyone who graces our Thanksgiving table at dinner. The cast of characters have been many along with the wonderful constants. Some years, if one of my daughters were dating a, shall we say, questionable type, I would struggle to find words of Thanksgiving. But I did.
I can't write about Thanksgiving without mentioning my "famous stuffing". Folks that know me well put in requests for 'to go' containers to be sure they get some regardless if they are having Thanksgiving dinner with us, or not. I love the sounds and smells of the day. Our home is filled with the aroma of the turkey sizzling wrapped in the warm sounds and smells of our wood burning stove filling the air with warm earthy comfort. The Macy's Day parade marches on as we unwrap gold flatware and our Indian dishes and hope we have enough wine glasses for the beau je' lais. Each persons letter of "Why I Am Thankful For Them" is proudly placed on their plate. I believe tradition is so important My family has come to count on these simple and purposeful traditional acts of kindness. Each person reads their letter out loud before the eating begins and it is then known, by all at our table, with whom they are breaking bread. There are tears and laughter, alike. Time stands still, or so it seems.
This year someone new will be at our table. Not new to our family, but rather their first time coming for Thanksgiving dinner. I always get a little more excited about the 'new letters' I need to write.
And so November is a very special and savored month for me. Every year I am renewed at this time. Faith and hope abounds despite any harsh realities we are facing. November and what it means to me, provides balance between the two. Not to say I don't find balance the rest of the year, but rather November is more like an annual event, a fund raiser for all that is good and 'just'.
Don't you think we all need a personal fundraiser to restore harmony? I do, I truly do.

Here's to whatever works for you. Cheers!



Tricia said...

Samhain, which occurs on Nov 7 this year (I think) is the time of the Celtic year when the line between this world and the other world are most flimsy. The holiday became Halloween, and the following day All Saints Day.

What you said about your dad reminded me. I have a friend who lives upstairs in the building whose partner died of AIDS a number of years ago. He was visited for months.

Some people might think a visit like that is all in the mind; but I like to believe they are real. I like to believe in lots of things especially True Love and that it will take me by surprise some day.
Evidently, October is kind of shaky for me too.

Comrade Kevin said...

October is the month of my birthday and about that time it gets cold and remains cold.

I am very much a fall person. My favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Gail said...

Hi Trish-
I never knew of Samhain. Very interesting, thanks for that.
And I appreciate your validating the 'visits after death'.
And as far a True Love is concerned?

Believe. It is very, very real.


And Kevin-
"Happy Birthday" Some time in October, "Happy Birthday" :-)

I get the feeling that you, like me, do not like the heat. I have NO idea what people enjoy about summer. I come alive this time of year.


eric said...

Interesting how events shape our perspectives. I muddle through September - mostly because in Arizona, September is still marked by 100+ degree days and anachronistic Fall decorations in the stores! (October is usually better, but not by much.)

I once a short story that began "October is the only sinister month." I don't know why I wrote that, it had nothing to do with the content of the story. But that sentence popped into my mind and imprinted itself there.

I love October through February. The smell of ginger and cinnamon and pumpkin spice is wonderful. And I may just have to steal your "things I'm grateful for" letter idea!

Comrade Kevin said...

To answer your question over at American Street.

It's actually a printer---not a foot massage machine!

Gail said...

Hi Kevin-
Thanks for clearing that up! So it's a printer! I like thinking it's a foot massage machine way better. Hee Hee :-)


Gail said...

Hello Eric-
As far as you 'stealing' my "thankful for you letter idea"? I am honored that you like the tradition enough to consider it. Others who have come to know of it have "stole" it as well. :-) Wonderful, absolutely wonderful.