Sorry I’ve been absent for the last week.

While I was in Brussels my mother had a fall — the first really serious one after 16 years of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. She’s okay, but she and her housing community decided it marked a good time to move her into assisted living.

Mr. EW and I spent all week in southeast Pennsylvania with my brothers working towards moving my mother out of the apartment she has lived in for 6 years. We sorted through the better part of the lifetime of pictures and heirlooms and books and keepsakes she has acquired in her life — mom’s Girl Scout sash, my brother’s first grade assignment, the tablecloth my great-grandmother made, the turkey platter mom made 40 years ago.

It brought a special kind of reflection to this holiday of gratitude. Thanks, most of all, for all my mom has given me over my life — the intangible things, the education, the comfort, the advantages. In the year ahead, in the face of the challenges we face as a country, I aim to redouble my efforts to repay to society the gifts I’ve been given.

Thanks to Rayne and bmaz and Ed and everyone else for keeping the likker cabinet flowing all week. And thanks to our readers for joining in the conversation.

As always on Thanksgiving, I like to remember those (not all in Michigan, this year, on account of the travel) who contributed to our feast. I told a woman at mom’s community that I had brought a turkey from Michigan; she sniffed, “oh, do they make turkeys better out there?” But when we served it, everyone agreed the care that Jill and Mary put in makes for a better tasting bird. The bacon on top of the turkey this year came from a Lancaster-based pork company, Clyde Weavers.

Because I forgot my cookbooks, I made a different pumpkin pie recipe this year. The pumpkin came from an older Michigan farmer who does just a wide variety of squashes and eggplants (he brings his grandson to market most days). I had steamed the pumpkin and ground the spices before I left. For those who followed on Twitter, I did use some leftover Five Spice powder (with added ginger) for one of the pies, and it worked great. The flour came from a farm about an hour from here. They had been selling their own self-ground flour some years ago, but then stopped; this year the daughter and her husband showed up to market one day with the same great organic wheat flour as I had gotten years earlier. I like the way the nuttiness of the wheat compliments the pumpkin. My sister-in-law, who couldn’t make the trip, sent several pies from Picasso pastry in Syracuse, and the pecan pie was quite welcome.

We also brought Verterra wines — a couple of Pinot Noirs — from MI, which was a good things as there was a “glitch” at the state stores in SE PA on Wednesday.

We’ve got a tough haul in front of us. Let’s remember all the gifts and benefits we bring to that challenge.


6 replies
  1. Pete says:

    All the best to your mom, you, and your family. It’s a right of passage that many do not get to experience even though the health circumstances of the moment may seem – and are – the focus and a downside of aging. My mom took her own life at an early age, but I went through this with my wife when her mom passed due to Alzheimers.

    Hang on to those heirlooms. Trust me on this ;-)


  2. Rosalind says:

    Beautiful piece, EW. All the best to your mom in her new digs.

    I spent the week before T’day with a lifelong friend in Cardiac ICU, holding his hand, helping decode the morning medical rounds when a team of 15 crowded into his room. There is finally sunshine breaking through, and I am so thankful for the amazing nurses and doctors and staff who never gave up hope.



  3. person1597 says:

    When dust-ups confront, the mind scours sources of good information for guidance and reassurance.  That’s why the Wheelhouse is a reliable source of solace in trying times.  If not for the legal beagles here, and you know who you are, there would be less gumption, less willingness to stand against tyranny and more tears of confusion during confrontations borne of psychological duress.

    My gratitude is summed up in a recent appellate decision favoring my entity’s position.  I want to thank the bloggers here for supporting the notion that you can speak the truth against onslaughts of adversarial fallacies.  It has been eight long years of financial and psychological duress.

    In a matter spanning six judges, my backbone was rightly in place against the torrents of layered falsehoods. It took lots of patience proving the negative to the Court — reflected in an outcome written by the best writers around.  I am grateful for brilliant attorneys and the indomitable spirit of affirmative truth, zealously represented throughout the lengthy proceedings (around 400 docket items).  In conclusion…


    <em> We hold that (1) the [plaintiffs] present no genuine issues of material fact establishing that [defendant entity] participated in a civil conspiracy against them and (2) the [defendant] is not vicariously liable for any actions taken by members or officers in their individual capacities against the [plaintiffs]. Thus, we affirm. </em>

    Please accept my gratitude for the keen insights that continuously emanate from the great writers here.  EW Rocks!!

    <em>Dancing days are here again as the summer evening grows

    You are my flower, you are my power

    You are my woman who knows. </em>


  4. bloopie2 says:

    Bless you and your Mom. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with being “old”. Louis Armstrong was sixty six years old when he recorded “What a Wonderful World”–as perfect a recording as there ever will be. Listen to it, and then tell me if a “young” person could have enough life experience behind him/her to capture near the amount of love in that song that Satchmo did.

  5. lefty665 says:

    My thoughts and heart are with you and your Mom. Parkinson’s is what got my Dad. It started tough and got tougher every step of the way to the end. Take care, and figure out how to enjoy the time you’ve got with her now.  Tomorrow will not be a better day. Sigh.

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