Dharma Bums

It’s been a good one for me and mine. I arrived in the mountains about noon yesterday (I’m writing from my parents’ house in NC, breaking an unspoken rule about not blogging on family vacations, but hey, sue me) and already I feel like a new person. The mountains are gorgeous: Mom commented this morning that it’s finally November here. It’s been October (clear blue skies, brilliant colors) for about 2 months, but today there’s a gentle haze over everything, it’s chilly outside, and it feels good to stay curled up indoors. November.

Dinner yesterday was lovely. We had, of course, way too much food. It wasn’t entirely our fault, though, since Aunt Jewell and Uncle Reeves couldn’t come at the last minute. Aunt Jewell thinks Uncle Reeves is developing Altzheimer’s and doesn’t want to force him to be social if he isn’t feeling up to it — insert much family speculation and eye-rolling here. But aside from that, we had fun. My parents, Aunt Forrest and Aunt Alene, and cousins Greg and Owen and I were here, and we put a severe dent in the turkey population of Buncombe County. With all the trappings that go with it, of course. Very Norman Rockwell. Man, my Mom can cook.

After the relatives left, Mom, Dad and I settled down for a cut-throat game of Trivial Pursuit. (I should take a break at this point to explain that, domestic and boring as this may sound, it’s a heap of fun. My Mom gets really silly when we play games and Dad and I pull out all the stops to get her to laugh uncontrollably. Whether she realizes it or not, that’s the point of the game.) I won Trivial Pursuit, but they got me back when we played Scrabble. The humiliation…you’d think, writer that I am, that I’d be good at Scrabble, wouldn’t you? Think again. I suck. I came up with respectable words like “lithe”, but only scored 5 points or so…sigh. Hey, did I mention I won at Trivial Pursuit?

One bit of country drama: someone dropped a pair of kittens off at the house yesterday. It happens from time to time…some locals decide they don’t want cats anymore and bring them to my parents, since their house is nice-looking and secluded. They don’t figure on my Dad’s allergies, though…so we made friends with the kittens, fed them turkey and water, and called the County Animal Rescue to come get them. It was actually rather sad, because they were abominably sweet. But they’ll find good homes quickly through the County’s adoption program.

Anyway. I could have left out entirely the above catalogue of events and told you this one snippet to show you how I feel today: Mom, Dad and I, gathered silently over blueberry pancakes and coffee, listening to someone read from Kerouac’s Dharma Bums over the radio. It was the part where he kneels in the path and says “Thank you, shack.” Beatnik, loner, freak that you were — we know how you feel. Happy Thanksgiving.