A Writer's Ramblings…

November 25, 2009

Truly Giving Thanks

Filed under: Uncategorized — barbaratoombs @ 8:10 pm

Although I suppose a blog called “Writer’s Ramblings” should be about various aspects of writing, I’m using a technique called “literary license” today to write about something on my mind that doesn’t really relate to writing at all.

I am writing this on a plane, headed to Florida, for what we fondly call our “cousinal” Thanksgiving celebration.  This annual weeklong festivity began just over 10 years ago, I believe, and a different cousin in a different state hosts each year.  The year it officially began, I didn’t attend, because I lived in England at the time.  I was thankful, however, to know that my father, who lived in Florida (where it was being held that year) did attend—particularly because my mother had died a few months earlier.  I was happy he had family around to be with at that time.

The annual get-together grew and grew, moving around from Maine and Arizona to Michigan and Chicago, depending on which cousin was hosting that particular year.  With it, new traditions have evolved—such as unique take-home place settings (often with each participant’s name on them), the triumphant de-boning of the turkey, a fun-filled day of baking on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving followed by a dinner out, the Turkey Day meal itself, and a “theme” dinner of some sort the next day.

The first year I attended was when my cousin in Arizona, where I now live, hosted the event.  Recently divorced, and realizing that my children were spending the holiday with their father that year, I was thankful to have somewhere to go—and family to spend it with. I had a blast, and I was hooked.  The next time I attended (two years later), it was with the new man in my life and his daughter, who were wholly embraced by my wonderful extended family, and the event became a favorite of theirs every year, too.

We’ve lost some family members along the way, and gained new ones.  But each Thanksgiving, as we come together, we share that blood-is-thicker-than-water bond that is so special.  We give thanks for what we have, that we are together, and remember those who are no longer with us. It is a particularly special time for me. I lived overseas for more than a decade, and during that time I tried to tutor my foreign friends in the traditions of this wonderful holiday that doesn’t rely on gifts and tinsel, but rather on simply giving thanks for what we have.  Although they humored me, they didn’t really “get it.” Thanksgiving is truly a holiday that is uniquely American, and I am proud that we celebrate it the way we do.  So I raise a glass to America, to Thanksgiving, and to family—long may the tradition continue.  Now…will somebody please pass the cranberry sauce?

November 22, 2009

Charmed?

Filed under: Uncategorized — barbaratoombs @ 6:50 pm

(Originally posted on February 19, 2009 on BlogSpot)

At the risk of dating myself, I’m going to admit that I learned to type on a typewriter.  It was 8th grade, I believe, and we actually had an entire class in this skill (shorthand, too, as I recall…how un-PC for females today!).  Typing turned out to be one of the best skills I ever mastered, particularly considering my present profession as a writer and editor.  But I was amazed the other day, watching my 16-year-old daughter’s fingers flying across the keyboard of her PC.  Not one typing class has she ever taken.  This skill has been self-taught, from years of growing up with computer technology.  She never knew the agonies of jammed paper, replacing ribbons, stuck keys, white-out, or–God forbid–having to painstakingly patch up a “stencil”.  Anyone remember THOSE??  This generation gap was brought all-too-painfully to my attention quite a few years back, when that same daughter was admiring a silver charm bracelet of mine, heavily laden with charms that each meant something very specific to my life, my travels and my hobbies.  She paused when examining it, stopping at one that had moving parts, and looked puzzled.  “Mom?” she said, “What is THIS?”  I looked.  It was a miniature typewriter, complete with moving carriage, to commemorate my foray into journalism and the fact that I was editor of my high school newspaper.  How in the world could it be that my very own daughter had NO KNOWLEDGE of what a typewriter was?  Somehow, I like to cling onto the perhaps mistaken idea that those of us who grew up with those “archaic” machines appreciate even more the wonders of today’s technology and the ease at which words can now be sent across continents at the push of a button.

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