Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Tradition of Felt Elves and Penguins

One of those Fairbanks' Thanksgivings, I had the biggest house. I had, by graduate student standards, a huge house. I didn't want to attend Thanksgiving, much less host it. Steph agreed to sleepover and make the turkey. And when she heard that I was going to serve canned cranberry, Marie asked me to make it by hand. By 6:30 in the morning Steph, Joe, and I were drinking champagne and making felt elves and penguins. Steph followed the directions perfectly; I free-handed mine. You must see why it was so important that I not be in charge of the turkey; I'd have free-handed that too.

By the time the sun rose that morning at ten. By the time it had set at three, folks had begun to pile coats and hats and boots in the cold room, and we'd settled into the holiday, as it should be, shared by friends and a handful of strangers. All that I remember of that year, though, is the early morning hours and the solace of a gathering of friends on the backdrop of an arctic winter.

I hope that you are all well gathered, American or not, with those who love you in the coming weeks. That you'll open your doors to strangers, and that you'll offer comfort where it is needed.  I will do my best to do the same.

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