Thoughts Are All Over the Place This Thanksgiving
November 27, 2017

There's no question that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I've never been big on large crowds, but when it's 20 or so of your favorite people in the whole world, it's great, and it's fun. For a variety of reasons, though, both good and bad, this year was different. Still my favorite holiday, but this year with a different venue, and a different perspective.

This year—a road trip. To Atascadero and my cousin Korey's. We've done Thanksgiving there before, but not in about a dozen years or so. Dinner was at her Montessori school, which she has run for decades, and wow has it grown, changed, and improved. Friday was spent at Korey's house—a beautiful sprawl on a hill where you can see for miles in several directions. Relaxing at a place like that can really get you wondering ahout a lot of things.

I drove over from Palmdale to Atascadero with my mom. My biggest concern about the two-night stay was how mom would do in a hotel. She doesn't walk very well, and has never really been very good in hotels anyway, but her only real complaint about the accommodations was that the water pressure from the sink was very low. Translated from mom's way of thinking, she seemed to enjoy it with no major problems.

With a lot of time to myself Friday at Korey's, thoughts also turned to my job, and my future. Grass Valley (where I work) is a lovely place, but it's expensive, and I don't know if I can keep up with it financially. There's also no family or other ties that would necessarily keep me there.

I thought about a lot of random stuff. What should I get my mom for Christmas? When should I take my car in for an oil change? I wonder if there are any good movies coming out, or when I might actually go and see one. The only sports thoughts I really had were what time the UCLA-Cal game started, and if I'd be back to Palmdale before the end of the Alabama-Auburn game. I didn't really care that much, though.

But the biggest change this year, was that my uncle wasn't there. We all miss him, but perhaps being at Korey's this year instead of at my cousin Diane's made things a little easier. We did things the same way at the same place for awhile, and now that routine was gone. Some of the food items were different. Even the turkeys weren't cook the same way. Not better or worse. Just different.

Friday night was another change. Dinner at my cousin Andy's in Pismo Beach. It's a family tradition that is probably going on 20 years, that the kids celebrate Hanukkah the night after Thanksgiving. It started one year when the holiday did come that early, and all the kids were together, so they've been doing it every year since. I have no part in this, but it still might have been my favorite moment of the entire weekend. Watching all the younger cousins (all adults now but acting like kids) opening presents and just being a family.

My uncle is gone, but his presence wasn't, and certainly his legacy isn't. Just watching them and being with them is the greatest reminder that this is what family is all about. And that's why there's no question that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Rooting for chaos?: I didn't watch any college football this weekend, but how cool is it that Auburn beat Alabama, and Miami fell to Pittsburgh. It seems like, even though the four-team playoff is an upgrade from the past, that most fans want complete and utter chaos when it comes to the committee picking the four teams. Just like the BCS, we seem to want it to fail, just because of the unpredictability it would create. The new rankings are out tomorrow, and the final rankings will be released on Sunday, but it seems Clemson, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Auburn should be the top four. 'Bama coach Nick Saban thinks his Tide should still play for a national championship even with a loss to their in-state rival, and there's still a chance it could happen.

Bruins hire Kelly: After an exhaustive search that lasted almost a week, UCLA has hired former Oregon and NFL head man Chip Kelly as their new football coach. Kelly replaces Jim Mora, who was fired after losing to USC for the third straight year last week. The Bruins beat Cal Friday night, and are 6-6 this season, making them bowl eligible.

Baseball buzz: The baseball season has been over for about a month, and there has been no news on the so-called 'hot stove' front. No free agent signings or trades yet, but things could heat up soon. National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton is more and more likely to be traded, and has reported that the Dodgers are the number one team on his wish list. The outfielder grew up a Dodger fan, but luxury tax considerations will likely keep the Dodgers away from making a blockbuster trade, unless another high-priced player or two (Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu, or Brandon McCarthy) go the other way... Starting Friday, and for three weeks, the big talk will be about a guy named Shohei Otani. The 23 year-old Japanese sensation is on his way to the majors from Japan, and, under a new agreement expected to be ratified by Friday, any of the 30 MLB teams have an equal shot at him. Otani wants to hit and pitch, and would be the first player since Babe Ruth (who didn't really do both at the same time) to excel as a hitter and pitcher... All the other teams have one, so I guess there is no rush, but the Yankees still haven't hired a manager to replace Joe Girardi.

Photo: Friday after dinner. I don't have other families to make a comparison, but this one certainly seems to like to be around each other.

Most of my thoughts all weekend have been with my 'second mom' Laura Keigwin. She was hospitalized Friday night with internal bleeding, and underwent surgery Sunday morning. She was in critical condition but has been stabilized now. Hopefully she'll be home real soon!

View All Commentaries