Month: November 2013

On gobbling the gobbler

Terrified TurkeyLast night after work I bought a slice of roasted turkey, a spoonful of stuffing, and a dollop of mashed sweet potatoes. After packing my pre-Thanksgiving dinner neatly into a small brown carton, I licked my lips and headed for home. Once there, I settled onto my faded corduroy couch; turned on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, my heroine; and shoveled in some poultry. No sooner did the first bite register with my brain than it rewarded me by playing back a song I had learned in grade school.

A turkey sat on a backyard fence as he sang this sad, sad tune: ‘Thanksgiving Day is coming gobble gobble gobble gobble and I know I’ll be eaten s-o-o-oon. Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble I don’t like Thanksgiving Day-a-a-ay. Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble I would like to run away.’

This kind of thing happens to me a lot. I stopped eating veal when a calf visitation appeared before me and the poor thing squeak-mooed when I put the first forkful to my mouth. Same went for a hamburger and the appearance of a mommy cow with long eyelashes.

Throughout my life, I have had protracted periods of vegetarianism because I really cannot stand to eat meat, but eventually my hair falls out, I become faint, my skin gets spotty, and I backslide. I think I’ll be piling a lot of broccoli and salad on my plate come Thursday. I wonder, though, what the piece of turkey I hide underneath the greens will have to say to me.

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In memoriam

Kennedy AssassinatedTomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and throughout the day I have found myself thinking a great deal about that fateful afternoon. I was only 12, in 7th grade, but his murder affected me so profoundly that, all these years later, I can cry just by conjuring the memory of my small self glued to the TV set in my bedroom. Though mourning the President’s death was a very public event, and so many others were at least as deeply affected as I was, the grief I felt, as I look back on it, seemed very private and very primal.

It was my loss, my wailing seemed to say, and mine alone. Having had the experience of a disintegrated family well before I had the inner resources to cope with it, I was no stranger to loss, or to rudderlessness. So perhaps in some way I saw the first family as my own, or as I wished mine to be. I could imagine what the young children, Caroline and John, might have been feeling, and my heart broke for them. How much I would have liked to console them, as I myself would have wanted to be consoled. In my world, there was no place to find the loving comfort of an adult.

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