“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
― Jon Stewart
Going home for the holidays is always so restful for me – sure a tiff or two might crop up, but they’re rare, usually solved with a tussle or a game, and the food more than makes up for it. Besides my house is the only place where the following conversation could take place and everyone would think it was normal:
Me, to Buddy: “You needed a fez for that.”
Buddy: “I know, but I couldn’t find one.”
Dad: “What do you mean? I have a fez.”
Buddy (incensed): “How did I not know this!”
Dad (matter-of-factly): “Not my fault. You have never asked me if I had a fez.”
A typical Autumn evening with the Small Dog clan.
This image of my brothers might provide some visual clarity to our collective mental state.
This year the turkey surprised us all by finishing a full two hours ahead of schedule (seriously, we’re baffled, we’ve only ever experienced the opposite) and we had to scramble and mobilize all the troops to get things finished and the table set for our feast. But all was well!
It is not possible that you could sense this through the screen, kittens, but these are the two best pies in creation – both recipes family secrets – and I will fight anyone who says differently.
These pies were the source of much hilarity. You see, that pie on the right is my mother’s rightly famous one, and she has always had very particular ideas about how it should be done. Namely, there is normally a piece of dough fashioned in the shape of autumn leaves that it left on top and bakes nicely into the pumpkin filling (made, traditionally, from the remains of our Halloween jack-o’lanterns). The last time we were there for Thanksgiving my mother, upon realizing that she had popped the pie in the oven without it’s customary finishing leaf, whipped up a special batch of dough just to put the darn thing on. This year I pointed out that the leaf was missing and she tossed her head with a magnificent, “Whatever!”
The road to our land, loving referred to as The Estate.
My father’s land is also the source of some hilarity for me, but perhaps I’ll save that for another post. It’s his pride and joy. When he first bought it, the handful of acres that weren’t forest were covered in brush taller than I was at the time. Now he has several cleared acres that support his berry bushes, a small orchard in the making, and plans for a pond. He was born in the wrong century, he was meant to be a gentleman farmer.
Fun fact about our land, American Founding Father Patrick Henry had his first job as a lawyer in our town, the road he walked to get to work runs across our property, and won his first election to represent the county locally. Also, the parents of J. Sargeant Reynolds (of the aluminum fame) are supposedly buried somewhere on our property as well, though we don’t have a lot of proof for that one. There are an amazing amount of old houses (with fantastic estate names) and many of the families have been in the area for generations (and a handful for centuries) so many properties have private family cemeteries on them – but alas for the Reynolds, they’ll only be discovered if we ever break ground for a house or something.
Dad’s latest project is bee-keeping. And those little guys are prolific, we have several pounds of wild honey stored in the basement.
That J. and I have puppy lust is already well documented, but he compounded the problem by spending the entire vacation playing with Mika, supplanting all of us in her affections by tummy rubs, sneaking her treats, and taking her for runs. The man needs a dog. We also went out to play with Maxi and Niney, the dogs on our property to keep it deer and bear free. Oh, and a bear apparently lives in a copse behind a house just up the street from my parents and likes to set all the neighborhood pets off at night by wandering around.
One of the dogs frolicking.
A week of doing next to nothing means that in the eternal balance of things, I’m now absolutely swamped at work. The continued lack of a replacement for Officer Lampost really is affecting my ability to work as effectively as I would like (which is a much less whiny way of saying that I had a twenty minute lunch break on Monday and Tuesday, and still had to stay after a full two hours on the latter to just get through my list of things to do). Vacation is over, friends, and no mistake! Luckily, I’m working on a few projects I’m really interested in and my work seems to be impressing several of my bosses, so onward towards Christmas, minions.