A Thanksgiving Remembered…

     This is a little excerpt from my second novel, Come on, Fluffy, This Ain’t No Ballet. It speaks of our need to be thankful.

      November was a gray month in 1963, full of the chill that made it easier for me to understand why early colonial settlers had placed such high value upon gathering together indoors before fires and sharing food in a mood of thanksgiving.  As Spartan as those early American homes were, the warmth of family and friends huddling indoors must have underscored the terrible contrast to the forbidding and icy winds outside.  No wonder there was a feeling of gratitude just at staying alive for yet another winter, gratitude for another log to burn, another ear of corn to eat, another door to close against high and threatening drifts of snow.  Such intense awareness and appreciation of simple gifts is surely much rarer in modern times, because we have become too spoiled and complacent to be grateful, too numbed by over-choice to be aware of what may be truly important and often too proud even to say “Thank you.”

     My mother’s parents would be joining us for Thanksgiving of 1963, and Mom was already in high gear to plan the dinner.  Every detail from linens to dessert had to be right, as having Grandma and Grandpa Starks as guests for any meal had become something of a competition between my mother and her sisters, each vying to have the most impressive menu, the best silver, and the most beautiful napkins.  In fact, Grandma and Grandpa were, I believe, perfectly aware of their daughters’ attempts to top each other and rather enjoyed being treated like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in each home. In the end, however, Thanksgiving became another chance for us all to be together, grateful for the company of those we loved, and happy to be in America.

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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