It’s a tradition in our family to go out for a walk after the mid-day meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas, sometimes all together, but more commonly by ourselves or in smaller groups. This might seem strange to those for whom constant family togetherness is mandatory on such occasions, but, well, some of the holiday traditions of other folks seem strange to us, too: lolling around watching other people play sports, for example, or lining up outside stores on Black Friday morning. To each his own.
If I’d been smart, though, I would’ve tagged along with my brother Steve and his wife Pam, since they spotted both a golden eagle and a barred owl, while all I saw was a pileated woodpecker at close range and a couple mixed flocks of winter songbirds.
And Elanor and her grandfather claim to have met a giant space monkey: “Bigger than Jupiter, bigger even than the house!” (Apparently Steve showed her Jupiter through a telescope the other night, and it made quite an impression.)
When everyone got back from their walks, we had pie — apple and pumpkin. See? In most ways, we are pretty traditional. Though we do draw the line at inviting the neighbors over, killing them and stealing their land.* We have enough land, really.
After pie and the ritual dismemberment of the table, we staggered into the living room where Steve regaled us with information about total solar eclipses of the recent past and near future, Pam read choice details from old genealogies, Elanor did interpretive dances for all 250 birdsongs in an audio guidebook, and I dozed off and got a crick in my neck.
*Yes, I stole that line from the Daily Show.