• Cathy Silver on Twitter

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • Advertisements

Bookmark

Bookmarks for me, mark more than just a placeholder for a page in a book—I guess they are more like a tiny time capsule, which seem to mark an event, adventure or period in my life.  Just recently, I had a friend make a remark about my bookmarks, “I am always fascinated what I will find in your books,” he remarked.  Actually, I had never given it much thought until his comment.  Yes, I had used something handy in the moment and then later found old airline ticket jackets, receipts from restaurants, post-it-notes with cryptic messages, raffle tickets, old napkins with handwritten notes and envelopes or simply little scraps and bits of paper that were repurposed into commission to hold a place of importance in the book I was reading at the time. But, it seemed to be “My normal” and usually I took no notice. How odd an observation, I noted to myself, with a sheepish shrug and smile.

Yesterday, however, I pulled down a newer version of The Joy of Cooking, that has found a home atop my refrigerator. (I say newer because the first copy I received was decades ago—upon graduation from high school—from friends of my Mother, as a gift.)  This newer reprint was purchased as my “Florida” version in 2001.  I liked it because of its tables of equivalents and conversions and I used it as an encyclopedia of sorts in the world of baking chemistry, recipes, and basic homemade standbys such as buttermilk biscuits which I could find at a glance; the old 1948 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia collection served the same function growing up regarding inventions and world facts.

But, yesterday, after a lengthy disappearance, I found in one of its pages, a reappearance of a Sainsbury’s label for cranberries. Sainsbury’s was a grocery store I frequented when I lived in England for about six months.  The Cranberries weight measured in grams and the “display” date and the “Best” before date labeled 27 NOV and 28 NOV respectively.

During my stay, the Thanksgiving holiday appeared on my calendar and I insisted on a small Thanksgiving dinner.   Before my trip, I never realized the imbedded importance of what this holiday meant for me.  In my core, it screamed American and for all our criticisms around the world, I realized in 2006 that in spite of living in another English-speaking country which very much represented our history and roots—there were some extremely notable and discernible differences in the way in which our entrenched thoughts and beliefs impacted our present day workings.

Yes, I navigated the right-hand drive—with extreme concentration; it was so easy to slip back into the autopilot of the more familiar American—left-hand drive.  Yes, there were a few words that were particularly “English” and that just made it more fun.  And, yes, there was the occasional derogatory comment about ‘the Americans’, but I was unfazed.

The single most important difference I noticed, was the mentality—that good old American—nothing can stop me now attitude, that I believe separates us and the freedom others seek when they arrive on our shores.  This is the same fortitude that has spurred protests, freedom of expression and the drive for something better—always better.  We may have our share of rotten apples—for no society is ever perfect, but we will sort and sift and find a better way to give everyone a chance to live in harmony with ourselves and our neighbors.

Surprised, that, it is this “time capsule,” a bookmark, the Sainsbury’s Cranberry label and buttermilk biscuits, that reminds me today, that I am proud to be an American.  I know we will get through all this chaos.  It will be sorted out and we will be stronger and more united for it in the end.  Because, that’s who we are!

img_3619

 

Advertisements

Happy Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Seasons of Life!

The Sun Coming Up

The Sun Coming Up – Thanksgiving Morning 2014

The sun came up over my backyard white weather-worn board on board fence welcoming the day.  A cool 55 and breezy for those of us in the Broward-Dade locale. Today is Thanksgiving. Traditionally a holiday of family, food and lol–football. For many a tradition that includes Macy’s parade, whether viewing from the living room television screen or huddled on the street watching large balloon characters & turkeys tethered by ropes, colorful marching bands in their best regalia, high kicking Rockettes and ornate elaborate extravagant floats, all symbols of things we have grown up with and love. Tradition. It is all around us. We love it. We live by it, and we look forward to ‘ours’ each year. Right? But what happens when we don’t fit in to the likeness or painted image imprinted in our minds-eye?

If change is the “new normal” and it’s affecting all parts of our lives, then I guess we should expect our holidays to take on a new look and feel. However most of us have strong resistance to change. The memorable Norman Rockwell painting has all but vanished in most nuclear families. We live and work in all parts of the globe; not everyone can always “get home.” Family dynamics change through divorce, death, marriages or downsizing. Sometimes the next in-line no longer desires to carry on the family tradition, refusing to pick up where Mom left off.

Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, Mash  sitcoms or the Star Trek series Next Generation helped visibility demonstrate family doesn’t necessarily stay confined to those in our biological circles.  As dysfunctional as the characters were at times, they cared about each other in times of need; mimicking life? Far truer and closer to our reality than we probably realize.  If, TV parrots life: Modern Family represents a new example, would you not agree?  Holidays, like life, evolve the way our life does. It may begin the years we’re in the dorm at school, in a particular neighborhood,  or within a close circle of friends.  Life just happens. The evolution is simply where we are in the moment writing our script in own personal movie–or sitcom. My own life and family looked very different 15 years–or even 30 years ago than today, and completely different than growing up.  I would say in a much better, and healthier view of the world.

I am meeting friends at one of my favorite restaurants, in walking distance from my home, near the ocean. I will talk to my boys–now 26 and almost 30 on the phone who live thousands of miles from each other, and from Florida. I will make a call to Seattle and talk to my parents, divorced, but still living and touch bases with my siblings. I will send and receive Thanksgiving texts and talk some more on the phone, and visit nearby friends, but mostly I will enjoy the day. I refuse to dwell in ‘what could or should have been’ and simply enjoy the moment and company of others–laughing, sharing stories and having gratitude for today.  Creating new traditions again. It is a no-muss, no-fuss kind of year. What is important is embracing our life NOW and enjoying what is.

We are always at choice point. I encourage you to create something new and different. Reach out to someone less fortunate. Play golf, do something that you enjoy. Perhaps, take in a movie. Each Holiday has looked very different in the last 10 years and I am okay with that–in fact embracing what comes in an adventurous–let it unfold kind of way; expectations gone.  Be mindful, our holidays and our tradition can always look a number of ways. Be happy where you are right now, evolve the way your life evolves. Next year will be different.  When the artist begins with the blank canvas he or she is in the process of creation. Be the artist.   Choose the colors you love.  Paint your portrait with any colors; joy is all that is required.  Use pastels, watercolors or oil. Use your fingers, sponges or a brush. Metaphors for the seasons of our life. Create something beautiful with what you have today.  I plan to and so can you!  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Happy-Thanksgiving

%d bloggers like this: