I don't think there will ever be another Thanksgiving quite like this one. For the first time in my life, I faced spending a major holiday--one centered around spending time with people, no less--completely alone. Before you start tuning your violin for me, allow me to say that this was an experience I'll never forget. And I don't mean in the I'll-remember-this-because-it-was-so-terribly-emotionally-scarring kind of way. It was wonderful, and different, and special. I started the day before the day actually started, at 3:30 a.m., at which time I started cooking my Thanksgiving meal and bundling up. I got to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade at about 6:15 am, and I wasn't the first person there either. I found a spot on 57th Street and 7th Avenue on the front row, and parked myself there for the next 5 1/2 hours. I had to pass the time somehow, so I struck up conversation with my new neighbors. I was standing beside an Assistant Principal of an Alternative School in the Bronx and his 4-year-old daughter who wants to grow up to take Al Roker's job at NBC. She's certainly prettier than him. To my left was a family from North and South Carolina. The grandmother was named Pat, and she talked to me about how she had lived in New York City in her 20's and was a dancer. She danced with Ethel Merman at a Summerstock theatre one year, and got to sing once with Burt Bacharach. How many people can say that? She also invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family if I didn't want to spend it alone, and told me she would be praying for me. There are still nice people in the world.
I have watched the parade every year for as long as I can remember, but I never imagined how different it would be watching it on the sidewalk instead of the tv screen. There was a man standing across the street from me who started singing Christmas Carols, and much to my surprise, everyone started joining in. Thousands of random strangers were standing shoulder to shoulder, outside, in the New York November, and singing Christmas Carols together. You can't make this stuff up. And then, the parade started. I always knew the balloons were big, but guys, the balloons....are BIG. The people in the parade were chunking confetti at us and yelling Happy Thanksgiving like they just might mean it, and the marching bands kept the beat as the parade marched on.I got to see some really great celebrities, and the ones I didn't know, it turns out, were Disney kids. I learned that from the shrieking 9 year-old girl behind me who kept saying stuff about Hannah Montana.
After the parade I went back to my apartment, hoping it was still standing after I left food cooking there all morning. When I opened the door, it smelled like Thanksgiving. Brandon set up Skype at my parent's house--that's software that lets you do things like video chat. He sat me on the dining room table and I got to "eat" with Mom, Dad, Mary, Brandon and Beau. So, thanks to technology, I didn't spend Thanksgiving alone after all. I spent the rest of the day with Gene Kelly, John Candy and a pint of Cherry Garcia ice cream. I watched "Trains, Planes and Automobiles," "Pieces of April," and "An American in Paris". I've got the pictures from the parade in a Facebook album. Here's a link if you want to check them out:
When Jen got back from her Thanksgiving in Jersey, we got a Christmas tree, some garland and some twinkling lights and decorated for Christmas. We hand-painted some ornaments earlier, and hung them on the tree while listening to Christmas music. Then, we called it a night...or so we thought.
Sunday night, after falling asleep at a decent hour for once, I awoke at 1:45 a.m. to Jenavene's timid whisper at my door--"Lindsey? Um, I think we have a mouse." That woke me up. We turned on the lights and saw the mouse scurry across the kitchen floor, so we left to get some traps at CVS. Since we'd been gone about 10 minutes, we weren't sure where our furry friend had scampered off to, so we started kicking things around and, turns out, he was in Jen's room. And she found mouse poop by her pillow. So it ran out of Jen's room, back into the kitchen, and we started planting our traps around the baseboards. Jen crawled into bed with me that night, and we hadn't been asleep 15 minutes before I heard a trap snap in the kitchen. We catapulted across the living room and peeked into the kitchen to see the mouse's tail and back leg caught in one of the old school trap's we'd set (not one of the fancier, more humane ones). But since the little creeper wasn't dead, we had a problem on our hands...how in the world were we going to get that thing outside? While we were debating, the squealer starting darting for his hiding place behind the fridge, so we threw a box on top of him. We thought about leaving him there until the Super could come in the morning...but we'd spent so much time and energy shrieking and jumping on chairs that we wanted that thing out of our apartment before it could figure out a way out of its trap. Plus, the mouse finally figured out his time on this earth was nearing an end, and he started scratching and squeaking and flailing around in the box. So we devised a plan--I put on my rain boots and and got a bigger box with a lid and Jen grabbed the broom. On the count of 3, Jen tried to scoot the smaller box into the bigger box I was propping up on the floor. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men...
The box scooted without the mouse. You know those stories about how people have lifted cars off of small children when they really needed to? In case you were curious, same theory holds true for mice. That fuzz ball got his tail out of the trap! Fortunately, his leg was still caught. But we were all so stunned for a moment, mouse included, that none of us moved. *Cue The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theme music* The mouse moved first, but Jen's reflexes were fast. She reared back and knocked that mouse, trap and all, into the big box. I flipped it over and slammed down the lid. Jen took the initiative and picked up the box while I ran ahead opening doors and shouting encouragement. We took it to the farthest outdoor trashcan from our apartment, and after Jen gave the box a few good shakes, threw the box with the mouse with the trap in the can. In hindsight, I wish someone had been there to film it. From now on, I will refer to Jen as Gretzky.
Two and a half weeks until I'm back in God's Country where there are stars, and thunderstorms, and queso is a word that people understand.