Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week of Giving Thanks

As it is for most people in this country, Thanksgiving for me was always a family holiday. We lived in central Virginia, and several of our very short list of relatives lived in Washington DC. A 2 1/2 hour car drive seemed very far to my frugal parents, and for many years Thanksgiving was the only time we saw my aunt and uncle (and, later, a couple of young cousins).

So we would take the unaccustomed long drive up to the nation's capital, stay in a brownstone house with people who routinely drank wine at dinner and were otherwise quite exotic, having been in the Peace Corps, working with or at least near the government, etc. And then there were museums. Did Charlottesville have a museum? Nothing compares in this country to the museums in Washington DC, unless it is the museums in New York City. I was also familiar with those because the rest of our family lived up there, but it was much farther away. The single busiest day of the year in central DC is the day after Thanksgiving, and perhaps because of this, I have always enjoyed going to museums when they are crowded. Anyway, as an adult I wasn't always able to make it to the family gathering. For a while after my accident it was held at my house because it was difficult for me to travel. Now my aunt and uncle are older, and although it is still difficult for me to travel, we did make it up there last year. This year, half the family is meeting there and the other half is meeting here. So: no travel but we don't get to see everybody.

Our first visitors arrived yesterday evening and I hope that all of you are going to have as good a time this week as I intend to.

2 1/2 hours seems like almost nothing now. Our closest family is 4.5 hours away in the most distant of those we see regularly is about 12.5 hours. A number of Europeans I know are struck as much by the immensity of this country as they are by our many other peculiarities. I'm sure it would feel just as strange to live close to multiple foreign countries.

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