Friday, November 23, 2012

My Own Private Turkey Trot

When I owned a house in Portland, my favorite Thanksgiving tradition was cleaning the gutters. First thing in the morning after I had my tea, I would take out the ladder and clean 'em out. I have been away from Portland—and my house—for 10 years now, and I'm not lying when I say a Thanksgiving doesn't go by when I don't miss cleaning those gutters. (This year I actually live in a house with gutters, but they are up very high, and my landlords take care of all that stuff.)

It was an odd and ultimately wonderful day. I spent most of it home alone cooking and setting up borrowed card tables while Josh went to the ER for an X-ray on what turned out to be his chip-fractured foot. I tuned into an Alec Baldwin marathon on the radio most of the day and cooked, occasionally texting with Josh at the ER and with Andy and Jesse about our dinner plans.

For the most part I enjoyed myself. I only grumbled when I had to clean and peel the potatoes for mashed potatoes and clean, peel and julienne the root vegetables for a salad—both of which Josh had planned to prepare. But I did it, and hey—I wasn't at the ER getting a hard shoe and a cane. (Although if it were me at the ER I would have preferred to come away with a soft shoe and an umbrella.)

Anyhow, this is all just context. So Josh is in the ER, and I am home cooking, and I don't have gutters to clean, and good friends are on their way over later, and I get to ask myself: what would I like to do that's just for me today? That might approach bringing joy into my life?

And the answer was pretty simple. I'd like to go outside and get some exercise. It was over 50 degrees, the sun was out, the sky was blue, the turkey was in the oven and needed basting every 30 minutes. So I put on my running shorts and shoes and went out for a run in the park. Past lots of soccer players, past a group of ganja smokers, past other joggers (actually most of them passed me) and into the day. It was lovely, and I knew I'd appreciate it later when we were sitting down for a big meal. (I did.) I even swung by the house, basted the turkey, and went out for a continuation, which was one of the more delightful parts of the run.

That's all. Simple pleasure.

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