Waving Off A Second Helping

by Calendar Hacksaw

Holidaze, 2000

Dear Current Friend(s) and/or Family Member(s):

As I write this, it is a few minutes after 6:00 a.m., on the morning following Thanksgiving. I imagine most of you are either still sleeping it off, or making any number of gruesome noises in the bathroom. Either way, you deserve it.

Certain holidaysóThanksgiving being oneóhave a way of making us do things we wouldnít ordinarily do; over-indulgence in food and drink being a prime example. Watching college football is another (DeVry: 3, University of Phoenix: 0; sudden death).

Surrounded by family and friends, we try once again to "prove we can still do it," shoveling down serving after serving of rich, fatty foods we would seldom touch the rest of the year. Every medical professional worth his or her salt warns us not to do it, but do we heed their advice? Not a chance. We stare Fate in the eye, and spit on his boots. Often, he returns the insult, tenfold.

Roast turkey, ham, homemade dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, candied yams, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, celery stuffed with cheese, pickles, radishes, cranberries, rolls and butter, pumpkin pie, all vying for precious little space on your plate and in your intestinal tract. It hurts just thinking about it.

I believe "death by gluttony" should be reserved for kings and pirates. This has nothing to do with general obesity, a condition many wear quite well. But when I see the same faces and figures every day standing in the "Early Bird" line down at Homegrown Buffet, I ponder what it must be like to suffer through holiday-sized helpings 365 days a year.

Overeating causes me great physical discomfort. I am perfectly capable of gorging myself on good-tasting food, and I very easily could have consumed four times what I ate yesterday. Way too easily, in fact. It required tremendous will power and self-discipline to limit myself to what amounted to a "sample platter," and insist on "no more" when that was done, passing up dessert as well.

That said, I have little respect for columnists who resort to post-holiday feast remembrances and other self-serving musings, going on and on about how piously thankful they are. The truth be known, they are only trying to fill space, fool their editors, and get away with submitting a piece probably written months or years in advance.

Then, one year later, such a wily scribe might submit the same column again, along with a note proclaiming the original work came to be treasured by so many readers he has graciously consented to its re-publication, with minor revisions (changing the names of most of his "dearest" friends, and eliminating many of those "beloved" family members who have fallen into disfavor, usually because they ate and drank too much at his house the previous year).

And now, with those introductory remarks out of the way, Iíll tell you what olí Calendar is thankful for this year.

Iím thankful for having a wife, Betty, who cares so much about my well-being that she almost always asks me where Iím going if I head toward the front door or the back, and often just in the general direction of the bathroom. Also, Betty knows I produce my best work during the pre-dawn hours, and it doesnít bother her that I do most of my writing in my underwear, unless we have guests. Helpful hint to spouses of other rural columnists: Soilove ™ does a good job of removing ink from the crotch of Jockey briefs.

Iím thankful that our lovely daughter, Persephone, will likely complete college and earn an elementary school teaching credential without owing a dime on student loans, or driving us to the poorhouse up at Weldon. If you want to know how sheíll accomplish that, itís too late; you should have asked 20 years ago.

Iím thankful son Alpo wakes up each morning with a sunny disposition, fixes his own breakfast, and heads off to work without grumbling about his job or his boss or his meager paycheck. He understands that hard work translates into outstanding recreational opportunities during his non-working hours, and that makes it all worth it. You get out of it what you put into it.

Iím thankful my family indulges my interests and passions. Due to their varied work schedules, most of my trips to Walker Basin this year have been solo affairs, or in the company of so many close and dear friends, whose names I wonít even recall a year from now. And yet Betty, Percy and Alpo never raise an objection when they see me loading up the truck. As I drive away, I hear them shouting, "Work on the outhouse stink, Dad!" although it sounds more like, "Weíre going to Disneyland!"

Iím thankful my dogs get so excited when I return home from a day at work or a weekend on the mountain, because if my dogs donít have any use for me, chances are no one else does, either.

And, finally, Iím thankful for readers like "KB," who recently e-mailed me with a request that I issue a reminder about the importance of Walker Basin motorists waving to each other.

"We have had a lot of new people move into the area in the last 4 years," KB writes, "and I think it would be really nice if you could find space in one of your upcoming articles to let the new people know about the wave and remind some of us that have gotten too busy to take the time to extend a friendly wave."

KB, whoever you are, your wish just came true. Donít forget to be thankful.

Calendar Hacksaw hangs out at http://www.calendarhacksaw.com, and if you enjoyed this monthís column, please write to the publishers of the Fence Post and implore them to republish it each year at this time. Hey, it never hurts to ask.

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