Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving dinner got me thinking, in part because it wasn’t different from most other dinners of the year for me. Ever since I left my family and went out into the world, I’ve always looked at dinner as the culminating event of the day, an occasion for making and preserving contact with people, celebrating or sharing concerns with them,enjoying just being with them over good food.

When my daughters were growing up, we always ate together at the end of the day. Few of their friends ate with their families. Many if not most of them had cars—which I could not afford to give them—and went out for pizza or McDonalds with friends, or ate at home but without their parents in their rooms or in front of the TV. I always cooked. We sat down together and talked about the day and their classes, or made vacation plans, or discussed the implications of the news of the day. I credit the closeness we’ve maintained over the years to the fact that we were a close little family that took time in the evening to devote to each other without outside distractions. Dinner was a centering ritual for us, one that meant home and caring.


We went into Manchester, NH for a meeting with the orthopedist. It began with an x-ray of the ankle with the cast on to determine the current state of the healing, and whether the cast was still the optimum fit for the next phase of the process. When the doctor came into the room, the first words out of her mouth were “Your pictures look fabulous!” I was hugely relieved—all the bone pieces stayed in contact and have had 12 days to begin knitting together.

There are now two more visits scheduled: on December 11th, I go in for another x-ray through the current cast to make sure everything is still going well. On the 21st, the current cast is cut off and x-rays are taken again. Based on the amount of new bone growth that’s visible in the pictures, I’ll get either a cast in which I can begin to walk or a kind of ski boot that will allow me to walk and that can also be removed for showering, etc. So, it’s all good news

We celebrated by heading immediately to Brentwood NH, home of Brentwood Power Equipment where I bought the biggest, most powerful and safest damn snow thrower we could find. It’s an Ariens Pro model with a 38” scoop in the front, four forward speeds, two reverse speeds, a self-starting engine, a headlight for night operation, a handsome set of warrantees on various parts of it, free delivery, free pick-up and delivery for tune-ups or other servicing in future years, and an engine powerful enough that there will be no problem getting it up the hillside on the road to the new house, and no problem cutting through even deep show that’s heavy with slush.

This thing should easily maintain both the house and the parking facilities at Fritz’s center, buying him out of the expense of having a guy come with a truck and a plow during big snowstorms. It’ll be delivered on Wednesday and we’ll get a tutorial on its operation at that time. I’m not going to be a candidate to operate it until some time in the new year, but it is easily THE solution to the question we keep being asked, “How are you guys going to plow this road up to the new house?” By purchasing a big new toy, that’s how!


From the relatively new site, Barihunk, which Michael is very effectively filling with new classical singer eye candy at frequent intervals, here's Canadian baritone Daniel Okulitch, seen in Jake Heggie's opera Dead Man Walking:

I agree with your view of family dinners. They really do foster communication and build a stronger family unit. Good news about your healing! Very happy it's going so well! So can you drive that snowblower to New York? I think that thing has a more sophisticated engine and transmission than some cars! :-)
That's a nice snow blower. I wouldn't have taken you for a size queen, though.
OH my god....THE SNOWBLOWER! I remember us talking about how you were going to clear off the MILES of road and parking lot. It's awesome. Great news about your physical abnormalies and trials. (I still can't believe it happened on the very stairs that we were talking about.....) And as for eating together for the evening meal....I CONCUR 100%.
Glad to hear that your ankle is healing well!
dear me
i have not met a good looking opera man before!
thanks as always for the updates in your life; i hope your ankle does well.
Your description of family dinners souonds like mine when I was growing up. I agree entirely regarding their value. And about the baritone. OMG. My very first encounter was with an aspiring opera singer, also a baritone. He was really handsome (6'4" redhead) but nowhere near that good looking.
There are times when I wonder if the dinner table ritual is on the verge of fading from modern life, especially here in the U.S., and then I read posts like yours.

Good stuff.
I think the lack of family togetherness is really a big problem for kids growing up these days.

And great news that you are mending well!
Wow, I got a little turned on reading about your new snow-blower (I'm sure a shrink would have a field day with that one, given my childhood in snow-covered MN).

Anyway, glad to hear your ankle is healing well, and that you had a good Thanksgiving. :)
I need to find this study I read about recently. It looked at high school students who had done well, gotten good grades, scholarships etc. The one thing they all had in common, according to this study, was they had dinner with their parents and families every night. Pretty cool, huh? That is, if I'm remembering it correctly, which is why I need to find it again. But I agree, treating dinner as the culminating and reconnecting event of the day is wonderful. My life in NYC doesn't allow it as much as I want, but I keep trying.
Thanks, all of you, for your good wishes on the ankle. By coincidence(?) today was the first day when I didn't get up and feel the need to pop a couple of Ibuprofin.

Patrick--if you find that study, please let me know, because I'd love to be able to reference it when talking with people.

Nicky--I feel certain you'll have that kind of dinner in the evening with your boys as they grow up.

Stash--glad to give you some encouragement. And I'm very happy to have you as a reader.

Ted, sweetie--you have NO IDEA!

Cooper L.--With a boyfriend that hot, you're turned on by my snowblower? :-)

Doug--then we were both fortunate growing up to have that tradition.

Lewis, Jess, Brian, Michael and Thom--it's always great to have support from you.
Hi Will-

Was just catching David up on some of your news, and he spotted the pic of Barihunk Daniel Okulitch. The odd thing is, he wasn't so much taken with Daniel's pic (David prefers his men older and hairier) but that the Opera he was performing was Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking.

It's seems before he met me, David spent a week on a house boat vacation on Lake Shasta with Jake Heggie and other mutual friends while Jake was writing Dead Man.

Small, small, world.

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