Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Farm Report

I am not and have never been a fan of Thanksgiving. I know it's heresy for an American to say so, but try as I might I can't help myself. I associate the holiday with frenzied travel, day-long confinement in a hot kitchen, and liver attacks brought on by overconsumption of pie. Upon reaching adulthood I rejoiced in the idea that I could, henceforth, skip the whole thing.

Right.

I've since learned that nobody believes you when you say, "No, honestly, I'd rather spend the day quietly, by myself," any more than they believe actors who say they don't mind losing the Oscar because it's honor just to be nominated. And I'm not enough of a misanthrope (yet) to be able to turn down a kindly invitation.

That's why I'm writing from Indiana, to which my parents relocated this summer. Normally I won't travel for Thanksgiving, but when your mother and father say "pretty please," how can you say no?

Mind you, to get here it's only about three hours from Chicago by bus, but it might as well be the Other Side of the Moon. There's a cornfield in front of the house. And another behind it. And two more, to the right and left. Are you getting the picture?

They have a yarn store, though. It's right next to the place where my father gets haircuts, and he asked if I'd like to browse today while he went in for a little trim. As the local butter churning festival has been postponed (the cows are all in Washington, DC, staging a protest against Lactose Intolerance), my social calendar was suddenly wide open. Off we went.

Here's a thing to remember. In the future, when visiting yarn shops run by timid older ladies in rural Indiana, it might be best not to wear my usual Chicago ensemble of faded jeans, biker boots and black leather jacket. When I walked in the owner turned white as a sheet and, I swear, immediately went to her cash drawer - whether to lock it or surrender it, I can't say.

She needn't have worried, mind you, because if I ever decide to knock over a yarn store it won't be one that primarily stocks acrylics.

After that I did a fair amount to help with preparations for tomorrow and now I'm taking time out to work on some stuff for Yarn Market News and that sexy chick who runs Knitty.com.

Cartooning is so marvelously portable. I have my ink, paper, pencils and eraser, and need nothing else. In this way it is a far more practical career than blacksmithing or animal husbandry.

Oh, listen - if reading my whining about the holidays is not enough, you can actually hear me whine about the holidays in the next episode of Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, which goes live on Friday. Not that you have to listen or anything. But I worked hard on the essay, and got up at 4 a.m. to record it, so I just thought I'd mention it.

I think I just heard a wolf howl outside the house. Seriously. No, wait. Neighbor's dog.

As this post was going nowhere, and has now arrived, I think it's time sign off. As the locals say, "Moo."

46 comments:

Martha said...

That was probably a coyote.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I thought your dad had an airfield near one of those corn fields?

Not to worry about invites for Thanksgiving. Eventually, people will believe you, when you say that you have other things to do. It will take about 40 years. Hang in there.

Elizabeth said...

You know, I've never really liked Thanksgiving, either.

Earlier this evening, my 11 yr old son asked if I was excited about Thanksgiving and I said, "No. I just have to do a lot more work than usual. Why would I look forward to that?" Made him think a bit.

Paula said...

Next time you want to give Thanksgiving a miss, come visit friends in Canada. I'm sure you have many knitting and spinning friends here who would be happy to give you refuge from the madness, moi included.

Paul said...

I totally understand wanting to spend holidays alone. It took my Mom and friends several years to understand that I really like to spend Christmas day alone. It's really a gift to myself. After several public school concerts to prepare and perform, throw in Sunday church services and two Christmas Eve services, planning and executing high school musical auditions (all in December), Christmas Day alone is a treat. I'm sure the same can be said for Thanksgiving.

Tactless Wonder said...

It's very easy to "hide" during the holidays when you live 1,156 miles from your folks. Take heart, it's only once a year :).

lkmanitou said...

If you get the chance, come a bit south and visit Stitches N Scones in Westfield (just north of Indy). Well worth the drive from nowhere-ville Indiana :) It's far from being stocked solely with acrylic.

--Deb said...

I can't help but wonder where Dolores is spending her holiday . . .

marcia in austin said...

This won't work with parents, but for general use I like the phrase "Oh, gosh, thanks for asking but I already have plans." And it's not a lie. You have plans to stay home alone and read or knit or... you get the idea.

La Cabeza Grande said...

I have no problem with wanting to spend time away from the hubbub and pressure of family days of obligation. Does that make me un-American? I think not.

In any case, try to enjoy your bucolic holiday!

jodi said...

You could try telling people (not family, of course) that you're Canadian. I've managed to keep the day free to work alone in the studio by just telling my well-meaning friends, "no thanks, I already missed Thanksgiving last month".

Nanna said...

A cute city boy surounded by cornfields. Beware of errant crop dusting planes. Loved the James Dean description of you in the YS.

dragon knitter said...

don't feel bad, i hate thanksgiving, too. as a culinarian, i feel obliged to put my all into a fabulous meal, but while i'm used to churning out meals for hundreds in a commercial kitchen, my itty bitty home kitchen sucks (we're working on that lol), and if any one tries to help me, they have to step out into the dining room so we can change places.

and it gets dark so early, and i will not revel in christmas debauchery before thanksgiving, so it just sucks. this year isn't too bad, it's going to be 65 tomorrow!

Mel said...

The (quasi)obligatory nature of the holiday and lack of decent yarn notwithstanding, I hope you have an enjoyable one. As I get to work the nights before and after and my parents are out of town, we're just spending the day with the landladies and their family. I like the excuse to bake - sweet potato pie in this instance.

Rachel H said...

I spent my evening with the sexy chick who runs knitty.com. She was looking quite fetching indeed. Will we all get to see what you're working on for her at some point, or is it a secret?

David said...

I'm pretty ambivalent about Thanksgiving, since it is only a 45 minute train ride for me to my folks house. And since the passing of my Grandma Flo, the event is much less fraught with family drama. However, since my sister spends the day with her in-laws, I have to attend two dinners in a row so we can have a second T-day with her and the nephews on Friday. Oy.

Anonymous said...

Thanksgiving is the one holiday I do. I approve of it as a nearly commercial free zone with food and family as the main components. Normally I cook for 3 days and we eat like kings for 2, then feast on leftovers for weeks. The menu has been known to be emailed across the country for a month for comment. We always like to say that if a murder was not committed in the kitchen, then it was a successful holiday - imagine a large group of Italians each with their own theories of what makes a good dressing - I once did all the different dressings - 4 if memory serves -just to try to quell the arguments, but alas, each party stuck to their guns...literally. The egg vs no egg in the cornbread battle is still being waged. The turkey battle was ongoing, but after many years has settled on a free range organic turkey filled with citrus and grilled.

Should you hear gunshots early tomorrow am, not to worry. In many rural parts it is traditional to send the menfolk out hunting in the am to get them out of the house. If that doesn't work, we make them take the kids to the zoo.

Fyberduck said...

Reading the comments, it's become clear that we knitters should stage a Knitters Against Thanksgiving sit-out next year. It is nice, though, to know I'm not the only one who hates the holiday.

Stasia said...

Oh, I can't wait to hear you! Yay!

kmkat said...

When my older son was about 3 my husband took him away somewhere for most of the day on Mother's Day as his present to me -- a whole afternoon to read and nap and whatever. I loved it. 3-yo son didn't get it at all.

DianeS said...

The last few years I've started to make the effort to both make the meal less complicated and to invite all and sundry family and friends that may be about. I realize that this sounds like more work and fuss, but it has become much more relaxing for me as I delegate much and only do what I want. I regard the feast as an opportunity to gather up and enjoy friends and family.

meg said...

What you need is a good gourd show. That would cheer you right up.

Violetsrose said...

I LOVE Thanksgiving - probably more than Americans - I always go out for a nice meal with my best Buddy and then Watch Miracle on 34th Street to start the holiday season properly - I'm even wearing my glittery Christmas cardigan today in honour of the Turkeys!

My husband however is just like you and hides away when anything Christmassy at all is mentioned

MonicaPDX said...

Laughing. So. Hard. I hear ya, Franklin. I loved Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners when I still lived at home and helped Mom do the cooking. But it was just immediate family, not a big shindig. Once you move out, dragging yourself somewhere holiday after holiday, especially when you don't have a car-- Ack. My in-laws still think I'm weird. I presume, anyway. After my husband died, a few more years of migraine and agoraphobia explanations took care of invites. Not that I recommend that solution, mind you, and I sure as heck wasn't doing it deliberately. (What, court a migraine? Are they nuts? And yeah, I had agoraphobia just to escape visiting. Sure I did.) But it was a nice side effect. ;)

My Thanksgiving: Me, alone with the first season of Rome, homemade pot roast, ditto brownies. Plus knitting, of course. Bliss. Good luck with yours!

junior_goddess said...

I think it's absolutely the coolest that your dad knew where the yarn store was, and asked you along so you could browse. Very nice! I would be thankful if my dad did that!

Marcy said...

And how is Dolores enjoying the wilds of Indiana?

Mary Peed said...

I like thanksgiving. In my family, Thanksgiving is devoted to in-laws. As I like my in-laws a lot and don't see nearly enough of them, it's good. We alternate years, and if it's our year, we also have all the foreign students I can gather up from the univeristy I work at to experience a traditional american holiday. That puts everyone on their best behavior, even if my in-laws were inclined (as my family is) to be dramatic. Note to self... should try that at Christmas-- bet it would cut down on the drama.

Judy said...

Now I have decided to de lurk and comment as I am insanely curious as to where in Indiana your folks moved to. And why?

I live in suburbia north of Indianapolis, in the Carmel/Westfield area and Westfield has a fabulous knitting store called Stitches and Scones. Carmel has a little knitting store that is average called Keepsakes.

Many of us who live here can't wait to retire and go someplace else. I didn't know people retired here. Anything is possible.

And, yes, we do have coyotes around. We had one in the neighborhood a year or so ago. I sent my least favored child out with a bologna sandwich, but he came back unscathed.

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving in spite of it all! Is the holiday cartoon going to be available on any clothing items? I think we need that sentiment year 'round right now.

Brenda.

Kendra said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

I almost always spend Thanksgiving alone at home, by choice. I save my vacation days for the Christmas period rather than taking time now to go visit the folks. I have my own mini-Thanksgiving dinner, complete with homemade pumpkin pie (in the oven as I type).

And I am very thankful for a day in which I don't have to do a single thing I don't want to!

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the Thanksgiving holiday so much as the dinner. I.do.not.like.stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy or pumpkin pie. Not crazy about the turkey either, but it's ok. I do love cranberries, though.

I once had the opportunity to spend the holiday alone and was so looking forward to it. However, my daughters thought it was horrid that I would be all, all alone on Thanksgiving, so one showed up on my doorstep with a turkey dinner. Then we got a phone call that other daughter & spouse had car trouble (about 30 minutes away) and needed someone to come get them. Yes, they did all the cooking and clean up, but aaarrrggghhhh! Now that they have kids and spouses and inlaws, they appreciate why I wanted to stay home alone.

marie in florida said...

i love thanksgiving ... daily i give thanks to the ten thousand farmers who work to produce my supper... but i really dislike all the junk that goes with the american celebration of both thanksgiving and Xmas. bleck.
having said that; this year i'm thankful for Franklin.

mk said...

Yarns Unlimited in Bloomington gets spools of delightful mill ends, and although I haven't been there for a while, I can say that the owner was unfazed by my purple-haired patronage and the employees got used to it quickly.

Sean said...

OH, FRANKLIN! I remember you telling me you didn't like Thanksgiving. But, I can't help but reiterate how wonderful I think this holiday is. For me, it combines the things most dear to my heart: food and family—no gifts to hope they love...no harried wrapping to get those gifts wrapped in time. Just cooking with those I love, and eating the things we cooked together. Ahhh....pure joy!

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend! Enjoy your time off and stop harassing the local yarn shop owners.

the fiddlin' fool said...

I've also noticed that it's the one time of year that family can get together and just accept everyone with all of their quirks. And a time of year where people say "I love you" by making sure you are well fed. That's a very old tradition, and I'm glad that we celebrate it at least once a year.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting direct descendants of my great-great-grandparents that I didn't know I had. There's a whole clan of them in Chicago, and they were just appalled to find out I've lived here for so long and hadn't made contact.

anneonymousone said...

Years ago, I got the best gift a holiday hater can get: the day before Thanksgiving, I came down with pneumonia. No one expected me to do jack. I slept, I ate soup, I smoked a lot of cigarettes without a smidgen of irony [I have since quit], I slept, I reread _The Mists of Avalon_, I slept.

Other than the chest pains that made me initially think that I was having a heart attack, it was quite pleasant.

Anonymous said...

Please do not send Delores out into the wilds with a bologna sandwich. I would feel bad for the coyote.

Moby Knit said...

When I went to visit relatives in Indiana, I learned that James Dean is buried in Gas City. Does that help?

Molly said...

After listening to Cast-On tonight, I would love to read your essay too. Will you be posting it? It was very well written and for my friends who do not listen to Cast-On, I would love to be able to post excerpts on my blog...if that's Ok, of course.

Your essay inspired me to make myself a cafe au lait spiked with Kahlua! Thanks!!!

AnneMarie said...

Radical, but I stayed home for Thanksgiving by myself - ate curried cauliflower, knitted, dyed, spun, pretended to go to graduate school, took a long walk, called a contradance.

It was great!!!! My kind of Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog last night via another site (can't remember which as I was clicking here and there and everywhere in between). Anyway, you have gained a fan. Strange, since I don't knit. But your stories are so hilarious I can't help myself.

Anyway, I have a few knitty/sewing/crafty gals who read my blog with some regularity, and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to point them in your direction. What do you say, Franklin? Mind if I mention you in a post and add a link to this site?

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog last night via another site (can't remember which as I was clicking here and there and everywhere in between). Anyway, you have gained a fan. Strange, since I don't knit. But your stories are so hilarious I can't help myself.

Anyway, I have a few knitty/sewing/crafty gals who read my blog with some regularity, and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to point them in your direction. What do you say, Franklin? Mind if I mention you in a post and add a link to this site?

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog last night via another site (can't remember which as I was clicking here and there and everywhere in between). Anyway, you have gained a fan. Strange, since I don't knit. But your stories are so hilarious I can't help myself.

Anyway, I have a few knitty/sewing/crafty gals who read my blog with some regularity, and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to point them in your direction. What do you say, Franklin? Mind if I mention you in a post and add a link to this site?

Cheers!

jesi said...

Next time you're in Indiana (and it's close to me which since I too am in cornfields maybe just maybe it is) you should call. We'll do lunch. I don't mind that you learned to knit in prison.

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