Storytime: Thanks for Notting.

October 16th, 2013

Is that everyone? Everybody? Yeah, you sure? Okay. Okay then. All right.
We ready? Okay, starting now. Everybody simmer down.

Right. Herein is the one-hundred-and-fourth anniversary of the Notting family thanksgiving banquet. May it be the last one for many reasons, particularly so that none of us have to eat Marcellia’s sweet pota – OW. It was a joke, Marcie! A JOKE! Jesus.
Right, where was I? Oh yeah. Thanks. Thanks-giving. The time of year for that, yeah? So everybody buckle up, hunch your shoulders in that little awkward public shuffle we all use for this sort of thing, and get a head start on thanking. Maybe you’ll finish before I’m done and can start eating first, if the kids don’t murder you for it.
Okay. All together now…

On this day, we are thankful for the meal that lies before us.
We are thankful for Debbie’s roasted turkey and that she did not attempt to shape it into a turducken.
We are thankful for Bruce’s glorious roasted potatoes and the red gravy that they are inevitably served with.
We are thankful for the sharp knives with the wooden handles that Patricia has placed at every table, positioned after the dessert forks for their intended use in the natural order of things.
We are thankful for the millennial ragewood tree that is our table. It stood for five thousand six hundred and ninety-nine centuries, and counting the rings of its trunk consumed a microscope and sixteen sets of eyeballs. Brave eyeballs, each and all.
We are thankful for Marcellia’s sweet potash. Bitter, mixed with treacle syrup, flowers, and harsh language. As it should be. So long as none of us have to OW quit it JESUS. Fine. Fine.

That’s the meal, all as it should be. But more than that, we are thankful for those bonds of family that have brought us all here today, to be confirmed in all that has passed by and changed over the year, yet has let what we are together remain fundamentally the same.
We are thankful for Vicky’s new baby boy Sam, who has his mother’s eyes and luckily enough lacks his father’s nose.
We are thankful for the remarriage – the sixth – of Barbara, to Joseph. May he be remembered fondly, and be sure to leave some incense with him before his time comes.
We are thankful for the adorable German shepherd puppy that Cynthia and Mike brought with them. It is wide awake and already knows all of its first words. Ask it about them later, but for the love of everything don’t listen too closely.
We are thankful for the house on the hill, freshly constructed for Becky and Lizabeth by the labour and skill of Aiden, Betty, and Agamemnon. May it stand for centuries, and linger much longer, and whisper forever.
Most notably and bittersweetly, we are thankful for the relatively painless and smooth passage from this world of Harrison Sweetwater Notting, our venerable patriarch and grandfather to all of us. Though he never touched a one of us with his hands, the memories of his passing will remain with all of us whom he did not chose to obliterate in its tumult. Those of you who can’t remember him, well, just be thankful you still have a brain left to remember with.

It’s been a pretty good year. Well, aside from Harrison. And we’re all thankful for it now, right? Right. But there’s more than that to be thankful for. It’s been a big year, one bigger than just our little cozy family, and we owe thanks to it to. No man is an island, and we’re as much thankful for what the world’s been up to as to what we’ve done on our own.
We are thankful for the lack of overt natural disasters this passing year, particularly those in our own little corner of the planet.
We are thankful for the recent medical breakthroughs into the treatment of deadly and life-threatening diseases that give hope to so many.
We are thankful for the great signs of the blue sky that have passed us all summer long, waving from their heights on tendrils of pillared whiteness. They’ve brought good weather, fair warnings, and foul portents, bless ‘em.
We are thankful for the continually increasing acidity of the oceans that drains the lights from the reefs and promises to silence the chatter of the living waves into a simple slosh of water and jellyfish.
We are thankful for the construction of the dam three states over, a project that Jared was lucky enough to work on. Its groaning underguts squeal words of wisdom to those that can hear, and it will remain wise and nonsapient for at least a generation. Use it before we lose it, people.
Most providentially of all, we are mightily thankful for the ongoing failure of any space agencies, public or private, to go and poke about the subsurface of the moon. Seriously, we’re batting a hundred here people. Just pray hard that the luck continues, or fuck only knows what’ll happen, and yes Louise I DID say that in front of the kids, they should know how important this shit is. You want your grandkids to be unprepared when NASA drops a rover right into the tombs? When some enterprising Neil Armstrong brings back the Sceptre of sCC!CCCn!DS and lets all the anthropologists of the world find out how wrong they are? Huh?
Look, let’s not get into it, okay? We’ll talk about this after if you’re all so solid about it. Fine! Fine! It’s not as if it were politics….

…Right. So. Last but definitely not least, we’re going to give thanks to the things that are, and that always have been. To the familiarity in our lives that might be taken for granted but damned well should be appreciated as we do so.
We are thankful for the warmth of the sun on our skin, as we sit outside right now.
We are thankful for the calm breezes that blow and keep that warm sun from searing us to a salmon pink, although I see Elliot’s beaten it to the punch there – aww, don’t be shy. You inherited that from your daddy – blame him!
We are thankful for the aquifers that underlie our land and eclipse the greatest of lakes, that drain themselves dry daily to smooth your innards and quell the violence of our digestions and appetites. ALL our appetites.
We are thankful for the trees that are kept at bay through fire, fear, and sharp words. Be sure to keep your tongues whittled fine, because the first two never age but you can lose the edges off’ve words if you’re careless with them.
We are thankful for the lazy eyes with which men and women see the world, that the observant are truly rewarded. Even my brother Dale here, who I know for a fact was seventeen before he whittled his first prayer-stumps. Ohhh Dale, careful there, you saw how much trouble I got in just for one little f-bomb, you really want to go pointing those everywhere? Yeah, siddown, don’t worry everyone, almost done.
We are thankful for the perspicuous spices that reside in our crops and trickle through our xylems, rich and ruddy. Without them we’d be no better than roots or mushrooms or apes for goodness’ sake.
We are thankful that others are not, for without their bleak humours the air would be thick and choking.
We are thankful for the thin crust between us and history, where half a mile down can take you five billion years.
We are thankful that there are thanks to be given and that that which takes them does not take it all.
Who’s up for some turkey?

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