by Helen DePrima
November suits me. The bustle of fall activity is done – garden put to bed, leaves raked, firewood stacked before the first snowfall. I can enjoy the subtler colors of the hills after the extravagance of autumn foliage almost too beautiful to tolerate. Small details stand out: ferns shielded from the frost, a single scarlet mushroom that’s spent the summer hiding under leafy neighbors, winterberries gathered at the marsh’s edge.
November in my Kentucky childhood had a softer edge than here in New Hampshire, often shirtsleeve weather clear up to Thanksgiving and beyond. Once the leaves were down, I was allowed to take my .410 shotgun into the woods to harvest mistletoe growing in the tops of tall oaks. I got to be a decent shot, able to bring down whole bunches intact to peddle before Christmas at the local market for fifty cents a handful.
With Thanksgiving just ahead launching holiday frenzy and the political madness behind us, I’ll be grateful and hold onto the November quiet while I can.
by Liz Flaherty
When I was little, our family spent the Thanksgiving holiday at my Great Aunt Nellie’s house on Douglas street in Goshen, Indiana. It was a nice white Cape Cod house with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a hallway where the phone was, and a nice big living room complete with a television and a secretary desk that I lust after to this day. There was also a nice kitchen with a chrome-and-Formica dinette set in red and gray and—here’s the best part—one of those stools with the steps that came out in the front. I’ll add a picture if you don’t know what I mean.
I loved Aunt Nellie’s house. She even had a cement driveway. But the very best part—
Aunt Nellie died in the 70s—oh, a favorite story about her! She was getting ready for a trip to Grand Rapids with friends when she died. At the service, her pastor said with great confidence that Aunt Nellie had been just as prepared for the trip she took as she’d been to go to Michigan. My grandmother, her older sister, muttered to my sister-in-law that if Nellie’d had her druthers, she’d rather have gone to Grand Rapids.
A few years ago, my sister and I were in Goshen, which is about an hour away from where we live (although the journey seemed much longer when we were kids), and we found the house on Douglas Street. Wow, it was small. It was pretty enough, but nowhere as beautiful as I remembered. The street itself, which had seemed broad when I was a kid, was barely wide enough for two lanes of traffic. The lawns that had seemed luxurious were…sort of pokey.
We laughed as we drove around that day, visiting graves of people we’d loved and calling up memories that made it sound as if we’d grown up in two different houses. And there we have the important part, the greatest part of all about Thanksgiving—memories.
I hope yours are all wonderful.